Friend or Fo, Shakespeare’s Ends is the Means: Revising Early Modern English Iconography, Elisabetta Points Toward the Critical Future

  • Bryan Reynolds
  • Janna Segal

Abstract

Dario Fo and Franca Rame, Italy’s infamous married political satirists, have spent over four decades performing and politicking, using the stage to enact a Gramscian reclaiming of popular culture that simultaneously addresses pertinent sociopolitical issues with the goal of empowering the masses. Taking a nonliterary approach to the theatrical text, Fo and Rame place the immediacy of the issues and the theatrical expectations of their audiences above the posterity of the script, creating what they call “throwaway plays.” These are plays written to address current sociopolitical issues that are purposefully left “open” to revision in response to unfolding national and international events and the reactions of their audiences during performances. Their “throwaway theatre”1 is rooted in popular Italian theatrical traditions, such as the improvisatory, audience-centered commedia dell’arte, and is purposefully crafted to provoke the spectators into taking a critical stance on their political and social surroundings. Self-fashioned as a modern-day guillare (medieval strollingplayer),2 Fo advertises his and Rame’s “illegitimate” theater as defiant of both the authorities in Italy and the common scholarly perspective of the theatrical text as a fixed and unalterable entity that functions as the centerpiece of a performance event.

Keywords

Burning Permeability Europe Assure Ghost 

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Copyright information

© Bryan Reynolds 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan Reynolds
  • Janna Segal

There are no affiliations available

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