Fo delighted audiences with stories of his upbringing, which, Parenti was very impressed by, describing them as "absolutely original, with an extraordinary humour, wit and personification. When the show was over we'd go for walks round the lake and he'd tell me more stories.
In this way we originated a project in which we would work together on a new type of revue, one which didn't copy reality, but which involved people and took a stand. Fo created 18 adult fairy tale monologues adapted from biblical and historical tales. The series also featured Shakespearean tales with various twists, such as a version of Hamlet in which the titular character kills his father to continue an affair with his mother ; Ophelia is portrayed as Hamlet's uncle 's transvestite mistress, while Horatio plays the ghost of Hamlet's father dressed up as a sheet and only appears when Hamlet is drunk.
The series also featured an albino Othello and a sadistic Juliet who keeps Romeo in her garden with savage dogs. Nevertheless, Fo performed it on stage at the Teatro Odeon in Milan in , which allowed him to develop the gesture and action not required for radio. In , Fo—in collaboration with Parenti and Durano in their own revue company which they called I Dritti The Stand-ups —co-wrote, co-directed and designed the sets and costumes for a revue called Il dito nell'occhio A finger in the eye.
He collaborated with Fiorenzo Carpi ; all of Fo's plays as far as would feature Carpi's music. They became engaged, and he married her on 24 June They had a son, Jacopo born 31 March , who would also become a writer. Rame worked in Teatro Stabile of Bolzano. In the film, Fo plays "a disoriented hotel porter cast adrift in a neo-capitalist Milan of skyscrapers and modern technology". In , the couple returned to Milan when Rame was offered roles in a series of farces at the Arlecchino Theatre.
Working on screenplays gave me an apprenticeship as a playwright and I was able to transfer the lessons of the new technical means to the theatre". Fo wrote scripts, acted, directed, and designed costumes and stage paraphernalia. Rame took care of the administration. Fo used the show to give Italians a glimpse of a type of television resembling the origins of theatre, far removed from the "junk TV" previously produced by the company.
However, it was frequently censored. One sketch featured a fat aunt who came to visit her nephew at his workplace a canned meat factory only to fall into a machine and come out as mincemeat, which the nephew retained in a cupboard at home and often displayed to friends: RAI maintained it would not broadcast the sketch as it risked further inflaming the annoyance of building workers' unions at working conditions.
National uproar ensued over this censorship, with headlines in the daily newspapers and questions in the Italian parliament. The dispute led to the effective banning of Fo and Rame from Italian television for 14 years. Fo returned to Milan's Teatro Odeon with the play Isabella, tre caravelle e un cacciaballe Isabella, Three Sailing Ships and a Con Man , considered "an attempt to demystify and debunk the traditional history-book image" of Christopher Columbus.
I wanted to dismantle a character who had been embalmed as a hero in school history books, whereas he is in fact an intellectual who tries to keep afloat within the mechanisms of power, play games with the King and be cunning with power figures, only to end up reduced to a wretch. The play prompted the first English-language piece of criticism on Fo's work by U. Richard Sogliuzzo in The play, which featured masks instead of characters—representing Capital, the Confederation of Industry, High Finance, the Church, the People, Rebels and Peasants—included a giant puppet representing fascism which gave birth to representatives of the Church, the Monarchy, the Army and Industrialism.
Salvador Allende ; Right: Amintore Fanfani What followed was Morte accidentale di un anarchico Accidental Death of an Anarchist , Fo's most internationally recognised play, described by the playwright as "a grotesque farce about a tragic farce".
This farce subsequently toured Italy with Tutti uniti! Oops, Isn't That the Boss? They raped her, beat her, burnt her with cigarettes, slashed her with razor blades and left her in a park. This was particularly due to a part at the end that unnerved audiences, who thought a coup had been declared across Italy. According to Chiara Valentini, a member of the audience panicked during a performance in Turin and ate ten pages of what he thought might be compromising names, while in Merano a student broke the glass in an attempt to flee through a window.
In , the company—which had now become Il Collettivo Teatrale "La Comune" diretto da Dario Fo—occupied and cleaned up an abandoned market building in Porta Vittoria a working-class area of Milan and dubbed it the Palazzina Liberty. The council was unsuccessful; the company was allowed to stay temporarily and set about developing facilities such as a library, conference centre, theatre and audiovisual workshops.
They began performing with Porta e Belli contro il potere Porta and Belli Against the Authorities , in which Fo read sonnets by the two titular 19th-century poets, described by him as "splendid texts, and when I recited them individually they worked marvellously, but not altogether in the same show.
Regarded as Fo's best-known play internationally after Morte accidentale di un anarchico, it had been performed in 35 countries by He thought the idea absurd: This Nobel business is a real comedy. I can imagine the look on the faces of certain state officials, magistrates and politicians I know. They take great pains to shut me up and clap me in handcuffs, and the Swedes go and play a trick like this Fo was, however, limited to Rai 2 , the second channel, which had a more socialist and non-religious slant than the more conservative Rai 1.
Two cycles of his plays were broadcast; for political reasons these did not include Morte accidentale di un anarchico, Non Si Paga! The first, Il risveglio Waking Up , featured a working-class mother talking to her baby a doll. Una donna tutta sola A Woman Alone was about a housewife locked indoors by her husband who had to deal with a crying baby while fighting off the advances of his crippled, wheelchair-bound, pornographic-film-obsessed brother, a man with a telescope, an obscene telephone caller and a former teacher who has fallen in love with her.
The event featured a reading in English of the first act of Non Si Paga! Fo and Rame began a lawsuit against the U. State Department , pledging any damages received to sacked workers and occupied workplaces, the disabled, families of prisoners and other favorite causes. Fo called a press conference in Milan to explain the grave offence U.
The Italian judicial authorities, however have never charged us or even made inquiries [ Now the Americans arrive on the scene and decide that we support terrorists, which means either that the Italian judicial authorities aren't doing their job or that they are in complicity with us. Almost by Chance a Woman , which Fo and Rame began work on in late The pre-Christmas performance of The First Miracle of the Infant Jesus on Italian television's variety-lottery show Fantastico led to further accusations of blasphemy from the Vatican; Fo portrayed the titular character deploying bolts of lightning to save other children from a bully.
Restricted to Rai 3 , the series featured ironic songs about RAI censorship and Italian politicians, dancing girls and satirical news bulletins, a ballet on Palestine and a "weather report" on national rape statistics.
Forced to tend the animals on board, a storm casts him adrift in the ocean on the back of a pig until he reaches the coast and is rescued by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. However, with rehearsals well underway, a ministerial letter arrived to block the project's completion with "an obscure law forbidding co-productions between public and private companies. Umberto Eco ; Right: Tony Kushner Fo and Rame collaborated on the monologue Settimo: Steal a Bit Less No. Grazie, tanto per gradire!
Berlusconi's government banned Italians under the age of 18 from seeing it over fears, it said, that the play could "cause offence to the common decency which requires respect for spheres of decency, and provoke distress among adolescent spectators, with possible effects on their behaviour in relation to sex", thus defeating the original purpose of the performance.
Much free publicity ensued, with the censorship issue being debated in the national parliament, teachers calling for it to be performed, and audiences and both Italian and foreign intellectuals signing a petition calling for the ban to be overturned.
He quickly recovered and was well again by his seventieth birthday on 24 March The Flight, the Count and the Amours. Set in , the titular character of the play was Leonardo da Vinci. Described by Fo as "a Machiavellian comedy, a gigantic late sixteenth-century intrigue, with judges and devils, housekeepers possessed by devils, hermits, gendarmes, torturers and even a monkey", it featured an homage to Fiorenzo Carpi who had died earlier that year. Umberto Eco expressed delight that the award had been given to someone who "does not belong to the traditional academic world.
What does this mean? That everything changes, even literature has changed. I've just about had it up to here! The title refers to the subsequent transplanting of Putin's brain into Berlusconi's head, and the play was performed amid debate over Berlusconi's business and political interests and media censorship, with RAI having barred Italian satirists Sabina Guzzanti and Paolo Rossi from its television channels. In , Fo revealed plans to run for Mayor of Milan , the most economically important city in Italy, the following year.
He said it was part of his ongoing fight to rid Milan of Berlusconi's political colleague Gabriele Albertini , the incumbent mayor. All those who hold the reins 'the show within a show', i.