Nobel Prize recipient Dario Fo is one of the most widely performed contemporary playwrights and a well-known social critic. The 89-year-old Italian here bluntly shares his opinion about today’s corrupted Italy and theatre’s crucial role in presenting the truth.
Fo feels that the contemporary world is completely different from the world in which he started doing theatre. Ironically, Fo argues, cynical Italian leaders are neglecting culture – which is the very fundament of Italy: “They move from truly reactionary situations. They connect with the most dreadful criminal groups that exist in Europe, and they don’t care if it’s contemptible, if it’s against the Constitution, if it’s a definitive sign.” Theatre, then, becomes a way of intervening, of giving information and showing that “these people are liars, hypocrites – they don’t honour any promise. It’s all a scam that obscenely continues…”
Back in the days, Fo and his colleagues were often subjected to violence, but he interpreted this as being affirmative: “The sign that our theatre had a positive effect was that very resentment of the ruling class.” Today, instead the ruling class has bought the intellectuals. Fo does, however, have faith that change will come in the future, due to all the young passionate artists out there ”who create stories with self-production” and who fight in spite of the opposition they are met with: “Something unexpected will happen. Now all that’s needed is a spark to set the grassland on fire.”
Dario Fo (b. 1926) is an Italian playwright, actor, comedian, director, stage and costume designer, songwriter, painter, writer and political campaigner. Much of Fo’s dramatic work depends on improvisation and draws on e.g. the ancient Italian style of commedia dell’arte. Fo’s plays, which have been performed all over the world, are known for their social criticism, and his solo piece ‘Mistero Buffo’ (1969) (Comical Mystery) is recognised as one of the most controversial and popular spectacles in post-war European theatre, and has furthermore been denounced by the Vatican. In 1997 Fo received the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy praising him with the words: “He if anyone merits the epithet of jester in the true meaning of that word. With a blend of laughter and gravity he opens our eyes to abuses and injustices in society and also the wider historical perspective in which they can be placed.”
Dario Fo was interviewed by Christian Lund at Hotel Bella Sky in Copenhagen on 10 November 2015.
Camera: Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015
Supported by Nordea-fonden