This work, planned as musical theatre to be staged in concert form, is conceived as a dramaturgical analysis of the relationship between Pirandello and some of his best- known characters.
Based on the three short stories, Personaggi (1906)La tragedia di un personaggio (1911), Colloqui coi personaggi (1915) the novel fragment Sei personaggi (1927) and the two versions of Sei personaggi in cerca di autore (1921, 1925) the six voices stage the tale of the writer who is visited, indeed nearly attacked, by the motley mass of his mental creations.
Pirandello himself speaks of the evolution of this relationship, of the insistent presence of these characters in his mind: "I wrote this play in order to rid myself of a nightmare", and he tells us of the battle between him and them for a role in his work. "And now one, now another, but also often one breaking in on the other, they would start recounting their sad stories, loudly having their say, all flinging their unseemly passions in my face";
"Thus they became in themselves — in this struggle with me that they had to keep up for their very lives — dramatic characters, and they learned how to defend themselves from me". The author seeks the characters' motivations in this battle for actual existence, especially for those of them who seem to want an active life as characters within the "non-life" of the theatre: "A dreadful and desperate situation, especially for the two, the Father and the Stepdaughter, who aspire, more than the others, to live, and are conscious, more than the others, that they are characters, that is that they absolutely require a play, and hence a play of their own".
The orchestra behind the soloists represents the presence of others, of the world outside the characters assembled by the mind of Pirandello: first the actors of the company in rehearsal, then the audience to whom the characters present themselves, and then also the stage itself, the theatre. The orchestral score will define the formal boundaries, in keeping with Pirandello's plot, with anticipations and ritornellos as called for by the text, a sort of musical moviola dealing with the action. For each character the orchestra will create a 'set', a background that can be recognised and associated with the character in question.