Dean College

  • Now Playing: Six Characters in Search of an Author

    Six Characters 2017

    The Dean College School of the Arts in now playing its first theatre production of the year, Six Characters in Search of An Author. The show opens TONIGHT and will run through this Sunday, October 15, 2017.

    Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to purchase your tickets TODAY!

    Wondering what the performance is about? Well, we sat down with guest director Eric Parness to get the answers to your questions and take us on his journey of adapting this great work for the Dean College production. 

    Q. What inspired you to become the guest director of Dean College’s production of Six Characters in Search of an Author?

    A. After working as a director in New York City for several years, it was time for me to transition to a career in education. I began teaching at Westfield State University last year and after traveling to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for a workshop, I was approached about the position. Being a guest director is a win-win: I can work on a large stage and in academia, which is very different than NYC, and the students are able to gain knowledge from a working director. 

    Q. What can a person expect when they go to see Six Characters? 

    A. The illusion that is set up at the beginning of the production is one that the audience is walking in to a real rehearsal, the rehearsal for the next Dean College performance. There will be stage managers, actors and actresses rehearsing, all claiming to be characters from a script for the upcoming performance. The audience will be taken into this magical experience. Over the course of the night, things will become less real. By the end you aren’t quite sure what is real and what is not.  

    Q. Talk about casting…what is the selection process?

    A. Casting is probably the most important part of directing. Every actor that walked in to the room to audition for this performance gave me the impression that they could act, but I only had 14 roles and 80 students auditioning. They each had 90 seconds to convince me that they were right for the role. After the first audition, I invited 30 actors to the call-back. From there, I had them interact in groups and based on my findings, I cast each role. 

    Q. What can an actor do to stand out in an audition? 

    A. Act with their whole being. Some actors come to an audition with a compelling monologue, but are not physically involved with their performance…and that makes it hard to distinguish themselves from others. A strong, trained, natural voice and body that is reacting to their text and aware of their body movements really makes the actor stand out. You can tell when someone understand what they are saying, versus reciting what they are saying. 

    Q. Who is going to love this production?

    A. The more familiar an individual is with the Dean College community, the more they will appreciate the show. It will appeal to a person who likes psychological dramas and thrillers – something like the Twilight Zone, but with moments of humor. This performance will change the perception of what theatre is and the audience must be comfortable with being challenged. 

    Q. What are you most excited for the audience to see?

    A. The ending. It is intended to rattle and confuse the audience. There is an emotional moment that I don’t think anyone will see coming.

    The Dean College production of Six Characters in Search of an Author, written by Luigi Pirandello and adapted by Robert Brustein is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., and will take place in the Main Stage in the Campus Center at Dean College, 99 Main Street, Franklin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit

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