Leading Player: The leader of a group of actors who serve as a sort of musical prologue to the play, the Leading Player is a roguish magician who appears throughout the play, introducing the characters, filling in much of the background and offering commentary on the goings-on. It is he who orchestrates the much-anticipated play's “climax.”
Pippin: The young son of fabled Emperor Charlemagne and heir to the throne, Pippin is a bright, educated young man whose restless quest for “something completely fulfilling” in life leads him to seek that fulfillment in soldiering, physical pleasure, murder (well, sort of), taking over his father's empire (temporarily), poverty, and finally, love. What's left for him but the play's colossal climax?
Charles: The emperor Charlemagne, Charles is a less-than-attentive father who basically loves Pippin. His education was gained on the field of battle, rather than from books, and his basic preoccupation is with war, carnage, conquest and ruling his empire, as is probably befitting the most powerful man in the world. He indulges his wife Fastrada's extravagance, but isn't too fond of their son, Lewis.
Lewis: Pippin's not-too-bright half-brother, and, after Pippin, heir to the throne, Lewis is doted upon by his mother, Fastrada, as she attempts to promote his chances of becoming principal heir. Not at all like Pippin, Lewis loves weight lifting, wrestling, showing off, and, most of all, Lewis.
Fastrada: Charlemagne's wife and Lewis's mother, Fastrada is devious, crafty, cunning, untrustworthy, but a warm and wonderful mother to Lewis. She is dedicated to gaining the throne for her darling son, Lewis, in just about any way she can.
The Head: The dismembered head of a common man, a Visigoth who died on the field of battle against the armies of Charlemagne, the Head relates the realities of warfare to Pippin. The Head finds no glory in having died for his king, no glory in any of the battles he has previously fought in, no glory at all.
Berthe: Pippin's grandmother and Charlemagne's mother, Berthe is still attractive and lives in the country where she enjoys the simple pleasures of the senses. Having found no fulfillment in warfare and battle, Pippin comes to her for advice. Enjoy your youth, and all the pleasures the senses can afford, she tells him.
Beggar: A poor subject of Charlemagne's empire, which Pippin has taken over, the Beggar convinces Pippin of the unfairness of Charlemagne's taxes.
Peasant: A poor subject of Charlemagne's empire, the Peasant convinces Pippin that those who work the land should own it.
Field Marshall: A military leader in Charlemagne's empire, the Field Marshall informs newly-crowned Pippin of impending disaster as the Huns have attacked and there is no army to ward them off.
Noble: A nobleman of the empire, he points out to Pippin that without taxes and land ownership, he has no power over the peasants to raise an army.
Catherine: A widow with a young son and a large estate, Catherine finds Pippin in a distraught state after his debacle at trying to rule his father's empire and takes him in. She is young, attractive, practical, understanding, down-to-earth and in love with Pippin.
Theo: A small loveable boy, Theo is Catherine's son and becomes Pippin's friend.