As a playwright and a performer, Dario Fo (1926-) is one of the most important figures in world theatre. By the 1980s some were proclaiming him the most widely performed living playwright. In 1997 his achievements were acknowledged with the Nobel Prize for literature. Based on his interpretations of the Marxist social writer Antonio Gramsci, Fo's politically motivated theatre strives to restore dignity to the popular culture of the masses. As part of this process, his theatre is structured on popular forms that challenge the preeminence of an authoritative text. In order to create a thematic frame, akin to certain oral traditions, Fo repeats themes and motifs that run throughout his theatre. Utilizing the mechanisms found in various oral traditions, Fo reaches beyond the confines of a given performance, by referring to the greater thematic frame. Dario Fo: Framing, Festival, and the Folkloric Imagination is a close, interdisciplinary study of his thematic frame and the techniques that allow him to refer to it throughout a performance. Using the tools of folklore performance studies and anthropology-including the works of some of the scholars that influenced Fo-this book explores his use of history and aspects of European culture that hark back to the carnival as a primordial fertility rite.
Lexington Books; July 2011
- ISBN 9780739169223
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
- Title: Dario Fo
- Author: Antonio Scuderi
Imprint: Lexington Books
In The Press
The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Dario Fo in 1997 has not yet dispelled skepticism among critics about even his best work's capacity to endure. The Swedish Academy itself, after all, lauded Fo for "scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden" rather than for any more specifically literary merit. But this thorough, intelligent analysis of the uniqueness of Fo's achievement convincingly shows how beside the point such caviling may be. Scuderi (Truman State Univ.) studies Fo's work through a folkloristic and anthropological lens, beginning from the insight that his "way of creating a play rejects the supremacy of the written text." He examines how the influence of concepts derived from folk culture, Bakhtinian carnival theory, Gramscian Marxism, and the moral and spiritual exemplarity of Saint Francis of Assisi (central to Lu santu jullàre Françesco, 1999, which Scuderi studies in detail) has been formative in the development of Fo's theatrical praxis. The list of English-language studies of Dario Fo is not yet long; Scuderi's relatively brief but well-informed and theoretically savvy contribution goes straight to the top of that list. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.
About The Author
Antonio Scuderi is professor of Italian at Truman State University.