Fo-Fighting

One of my favourite playwrights is Dario Fo and I was reminded of this today, reading an article about the elections in Italy. Fo, 86, is best known for his play Accidental Death of an Anarchist, inspired by the death of a man in police custody in 1969, and has long been a leftwing hero in Italy. He has spent a career writing about injustice and political corruption and together with his wife, Franca Rame, also a playwright, has been one of Europe’s most formidable social commentators. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997 which places him amongst the true theatrical greats – Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, Wole Soyinka, Jean Paul Sartre, George Bernard Shaw even.

fo 2I’ve directed a couple of his plays – Accidental death of an Anarchist, Can’t Pay Won’t Pay – and been in a few too – Trumpets and Raspberries, Mistero Buffo. One of my favourites is The Virtuous Burglar.

He started writing in 1958 and is still pumping them out today and all the time has been a thorn in the side of the Italian government. Recently he ran for the Mayor of Milan and this week has been outspoken in his support of Beppe Grillo, a comedian turned politician who has just captured over a quarter of the Italian vote, throwing the country into political crisis and unsettling a Europe that is still teetering on the edge  of financial crisis. You can read what he has to say  in an article entitled We need a surreal fantasist like Beppe Grillo to rescue Italy, says Nobel-winning playwright Dario Fo.

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A good potted biography of him can be found here and if you can speak Italian, have a look at his own website www.dariofo.it

In fact, if you are reading this in Hong Kong, you catch a performance of Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Fringe Club Underground Theatre this week. I highly recommend it!

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