Biobibliographical Notes

Dario Fo, one of the leading figures in modern farce and political drama, was born in 1926 in the village of Sangiano (Varese) in Lombardy, where while still young he came into contact with popular theatrical and narrative traditions (his grandfather was a well-known fabulatore). After studying art and architecture in Milan, Fo took part in radio programmes with a series of monologues Poer Nano (“Poor Dwarf”), made his debut as an actor in 1952 (Teatro Odeon, Milan), and in the same year began to write satirical cabarets and to act at the Piccolo Theatre. In 1954 he married the actress Franca Rame. In 1959 the couple founded their own company, in which Franca Rame was the leading lady and Fo the writer, producer, mime and actor. He achieved international fame in 1960 with Gli arcangeli non giocano a flipper (“Archangels Don’t Play Pinball”). In 1968 with left-wing support (ARCI/PCI) he founded the theatre co-operative “Nuova Scena”, soon wound up because of ideological controversy. In 1970 Fo parted company with the Communist Party and the couple founded the theatre collective “La Comune”. After having occupied Palazzina Liberty in Milan, the company was given a permanent theatre, which opened in 1974 with the success We Can’t Pay We Won’t Pay!. Fo’s opposition to conformism, the courage of his convictions, and his political and social commitment, have involved him in numerous court cases and controversies with the Italian state, the police, the censors, television (the “scandal programme” Canzonissima) and the Vatican (according to the Pope, Mistero Buffo had “desecrated Italian religious feelings”). In 1980 Fo was refused an entry visa for a performance in the USA because of his membership in “Soccorso Rosso”, an organisation supporting prison inmates. Together with Rame, Fo has written a number of monologues (for instance Tutta casa, letto e chiesa, “All Home, Bed and Church”) inspired by the struggle of Italy’s women for the right to divorce and legal abortion. His collected plays include 70 or so works. In 1981 Fo was awarded the Sonning Prize.

A selection of Dario Fo’s works
Il dito nell’occhio, prod. Milan, 1953, publ. in Teatro d’oggi, 1954
I sani da legare, prod. Milan, 1954, publ. in the theatrical journal Sipario, 1955
Ladri, manichini e donne nude, prod. Milan, 1957, publ. in Teatro Comico. Garzani, 1962
In Engl. The Virtuous Burglars. – Methuen, 1992
An extensive selection of Dario Fo’s works can be found in the series Le Commedie di Dario Fo, Einaudi, “Gli struzzi”, among them:
Gli arcangeli non giocano a flipper, prod. Milan, 1959, publ. in Le Commedie I 1966. In Engl. Archangels Don’t Play Pinball. – Methuen, 1987
Isabella, tre caravelle e un cacciaballe, prod. Milan, 1963, publ. in Le Commedie II, 1966
Ci ragiono e canto, prod. Milan, 1966, publ. in Le commedie V, 1977
La signora è da buttare, prod. Milan, 1967, publ. 1976 and in Le Commedie VII, 1988
Grande pantomima, prod. Milan, 1968, publ. in Le Commedie III, 1975
Mistero buffo, prod. Milan, 1969, publ. in Le Commedie V, 1977. In Engl. Mistero Buffo. – Methuen, 1988
Morte accidentale di un anarchico, prod. Milan, 1970, publ. in Le Commedie VII, 1988. In Engl. Accidental Death of an Anarchist. – Pluto Press, 1980
Non si paga, Non si paga!, prod. Milan, 1974, publ. Bertani, 1974. In Engl. We Can’t Pay We Won’t Pay!. – Pluto Press, 1982
Il papa e la strega, prod. Milan, 1989. In Engl. The Pope and the Witch. – Methuen, 1992
Johan Padan a la descoverta de le Americhe, prod. Milan, 1991, publ. Bertani, 1974
Clacson, trombette e pernacchi, prod. Milan, 1981. In Engl. Trumpets and Raspberries. – Pluto Press, 1984
Il diavolo con le zinne, prod. Messina, 1997
Dario Fo parla di Dario Fo. – Lerici, 1977
Manuale minimo dell’attore. Einaudi, 1987. In Engl. Tricks of the Trade. – Methuen, 1991
Dario Fo. Dialogo provocatorio sul comico, il tragico, la follia e la ragione con Luigi Allegri. Laterza, 1990. In Engl. Dario Fo. Provocative Dialogue on the Comic, the Tragic, Folly and Reason. – Methuen, 1993
Le commedie di Dario Fo. 11, Storia vera di Piero d’Angera, che alla crociata non c’era. – Torino : Einaudi, 1997*
Manuale minimo dell’attore. Dario Fo, a cura di Franca Rame. – Torino : Einaudi, 1997*
Il diavolo con le zinne. Dario Fo, a cura di Franca Rame disegni originali di Dario Fo. – Torino : Einaudi, 1998*
Marino libero! Marino è innocente! Dario Fo, a cura di Franca Rame. – Torino : Einaudi, 1998*
Lu Santo Jullàre Francesco. Dario Fo, a cura di Franca Rame.– Torino : Einaudi, 1999*
La vera storia di Ravenna. Dario Fo. – Modena : Franco Cosimo Panini, 1999*
Teatro. Dario Fo, a cura di Franca Rame ventisette disegni originale dell’autore. – Torino : Einaudi, 2000. (I millenni)*
Lezioni di teatro. Dario Fo ; a cura di Felice Cappa. – Torino : Einaudi, 2001*
Il paese dei mezaràt : i miei primi sette anni (e qualcuno in più). Dario Fo ; a cura di Franca Rame. – Milano : Feltrinelli, 2002*
Il tempio degli uomini liberi : il Duomo di Modena. Dario Fo ; appunti per lezione-spettacolo a cura di Franca Rame. – Modena : F. C. Panini, 2004*
In English also Dario Fo. Plays: One. & Plays: Two, with introd. by Stuart Hood. – Methuen, 1994
The Tale of a Tiger. – Theatretexts, 1984
A Woman Alone and Other Plays. – Methuen, 1991
Acting Diana. – Oberon Books, 1994
The Pope and the Witch. Translated by Joan Holden. – London : Methuen Drama, 1992. – Uniform Title: Papa e la strega*
Plays. With an introduction by series editor, Stuart Hood. – London : Methuen Drama, 1997. 2 vol.*
Contents: 1. Mistero Buffo. Translated by Ed Emery ; Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Translated by Ed Emery ; Trumpets and Raspberries. Translated by R.C. McAvoy and A.M. Giugni ; The Virtuous Burglar. Translated by Joe Farrell ; One was Nude and One Wore Tails. Translated by Ed Emery
Contents: 2. Can’t pay? Won’t pay?. Translated by Lino Pertile ; Elizabeth : almost by chance a woman. Translated by Gillian Hanna ; The open couple. Written with Franca Rame ; translated by Stuart Hood ; An Ordinary Day. Written with Franca Rame ; translated by Joe Farrell.
Notes: Vol. 2 has introduction also by Franca Rame. Originally published: London : Methuen Drama, 1992.
Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas. Translated from the Italian by Ron Jenkins with the assistance of Stefania Taviano. – New York : Grove Press, cop. 2001. – Uniform Title: Johan Padan a la descoverta de le Americhe.*
The Peasants Bible ; and, The story of the Tiger. Translated from the Italian by Ron Jenkins. – New York : Grove Press, 2004. – Uniform Title: Bibbia dei villani.*
My First Seven Years (Plus a Few More). Joe Farrell (trans). – London : Methuen, 2005. – Uniform Title: Il paese dei mezaràt : i miei primi sette anni (e qualcuno in più)*
Critical studies
Lanfranco Binni, Attento te…! Il teatro politico di Dario Fo. – Bertani, 1975
Chiara Valentini, La storia di Fo. – Feltrinelli, 1977
Paula Puppa, Il teatro di Fo. Dalla scena alla piazza. – Marsilio, 1978
Claudio Meldolesi, Su un comico in rivolta. Dario Fo il bufalo, il bambino. – Bulzoni, 1978
Rudolf Ladurner, Das Theater von Dario Fo. – Diss. Wien, 1981
Dario Fo and Franca Rame: Theatre Workshops at Riverside Studios. – Red Notes, 1983
Tony Mitchell, Dario Fo: People’s Court Jester. – Methuen, 1984, rev. ed. 1986
David L. Hurst, Dario Fo and Franca Rame. – Macmillan, 1989
File on Fo, ed. by Simon Trussler.– Methuen, 1989

The Swedish Academy

* Updated in 2005.

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