A writer who managed to enrage the right, the left, the church, the forces of law and order, media barons and the governments of Russia, Israel, Italy, Turkey and the USA (among others) has a lot going for him. The magnificent satirist/actor/director/mime Dario Fo died last month at the age of 90, still working.
The Nobel Prize nomination for Fo in 1997 said: in imitation of medieval jesters [he] deplores the power of authority and defends the dignity of the oppressed.
On the other hand, the Vatican was far from impressed: Giving the prize to someone who is the author of questionable works is beyond imagination. (Take note, future Nobel judges, no questionable works please.)
Fo himself said I am the jongleur. I leap and pirouette and make you laugh. I make fun of those in power and I show you how puffed up and conceited are the big shots who go around making wars in which we are the ones who get slaughtered. I reveal them for what they are. I pull out the plug, and …psss…they deflate.
Fo’s theatre combines slapstick, music and songs, farce, agitprop and topical allusions, all played at a high pace and often breaking out into improvisation. Here’s a sample in a YouTube clip from the Irish Devious Theatre:
Image of Dario Fo by Michael Edwards, 2006-01-21 (Flickr.com) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons