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DARIO FO – The Jester of our times

Dario Fo

 Dario Fo, an Italian actor-author, can claim to be the most frequently performed living playwright in the world. Born on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy in 1926, he made his debut in theatre in 1952 and is still writing and performing. His work has gone through various phases, always in company with his actress wife Franca Rame. His stage career began with political cabaret, moved on to one-act farces, and then to satirical comedies in his so-called ‘bourgeois phase’ in the early 1960s when he became a celebrated figure on TV and in Italy’s major theatres. In 1968, he broke with conventional theatre to set up a co operative dedicated to producing politically committed work in what were then known as ‘alternative venues’. His best known work, including Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Mistero Buffo and Trumpets and Raspberries, dates from this period. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997, and in the official citation the Swedish Royal Academy stated that he had ‘emulated the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.’

Photo CreditsDario Fo, Cesenatico, 2005
Per gentile concessione di archivio.francarame.it

Dario Fo, Cesenatico, 2005
Per gentile concessione di archivio.francarame.it

The Team of Ambassador Theater is thrilled to partner with the Italian Cultural Institute and celebrate 90th Birthday of Dario Fo with the presentation of an Italian actor, an inerpreter of Dario Fo's monologues, Mario Pirovano, in Johan Padan and the Discovery of America Feb 26, 2016 at 7 PM at the Embassy of Italy and a production of DC Premiere of They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! March 3-26, 2016 at FLASHPOINT, 916 G Street, NW, Washington DC.

They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! is one of the greatest European comedies of the 20th Century, which caused the future Nobel Prize-winning playwright Dario Fo to be brought to trial for incitement. This working class farce set during a time of economic collapse, begins with an episode of mass shoplifting by working class women from food stores, due to price hikes. It soon converges with the shipping of cheap contraband food from Asia as well as work stoppages and strikes. As a result of the “liberation” of food from grocery stores, a peculiar number of pregnant-looking women in coats are being pursued by the authorities everywhere. One of these working class women, Antonia, must deal with her legalistic husband, Giovanni—a union member who plays by the rule-book. She must also explain the unexpected “pregnancy” of his best friend Luigi’s wife, Margherita, a fact that Giovanni in turn “reveals” to Margherita’s husband. But soon the raids by authorities seeking contraband food close in on their neighborhood, and chaos ensues.
 
Though the piece has been called a “comedy of hunger,” it is also about the bigger financial farce that results if the victims of financial collapse—brought about by capitalism run-amok—are asked to pay for the disaster while the guilty parties are bailed out. This play by a master playwright and performer, is both physical comedy and a comedy of wit, sometimes in “boulevard” style. Fo has roots in Commedia dell’Arte, and the influence shows in this modern farce. In awarding him the Nobel Prize for Literature—there is no theatre category!—the Nobel committee remarked in 1997 that Dario Fo “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.”
 WHERE: Mead Theatre Lab at FLASHPOINT
     916 G Street NW, Washington DC
WHEN: March 3 – March 26, 2016; Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Matinees Sundays at 3:00 pm
Previews March 1, 2 at 7:30 pm;

Opening & Reception follows, March 3 at 7:30 pm 
Press Night: Sat, March 5, 7:30 pm; Special Q&A after the show with the Special Guest, Italian Actor, longtime collaborator of Dario Fo, Mario Pirovano, director, Joe Martin and actors 
TICKETS: $20 – $40 Online For 14 + Audiences