Italy lost one of their greatest playwrights this week as it was announced on Thursday that Dario Fo passed away after a twelve day stay in the hospital. A cause of death was not given. Mr. Fo was also a Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1997.
Mr. Fo was an ardent political activist “poking the eye” of the Italian government whenever injustice occurred by writing, cutting, satirical plays that dramatized the current political landscape. One of his best, most widely known works was taken from a true story at the time, “The Accidental Death of an Anarchist”. This play was based on the true story of a railway worker who fell to his death from the fourth floor of a police station. The police stated it was a suicide, but Mr. Fo alluded the man was murdered.
For Dario being a political activist was a way of life that he incorporated into everything he wrote. He fought for the causes of the Italian worker, which endeared him to everyone, even his political opponents, who are mourning his passing. Preceded by him in death was his wife of 50+ years, Franca Rame, whom he married in 1954. Rame was Dario’s muse. She was also an actress and helped Mr. Fo co-write many of the characters in his plays. Together they wrote the most celebrated of his plays, “Mistero Buffo”, translated into “The Comic Mystery”. This play was a series of Bible stories as told by those not in power. Even though well received by the general audience, the Vatican denounced this work as “blasphemous”.
After his wife died in 2013, Mr. Fo stated that he would dream of her every night and dream she was still living. So even after Franca’s death, Mr. Fo stayed politically active appearing at an activist rally a month before his death. Dario stated that even at age ninety, he had ideas that he wanted to pursue. To read the full article about Mr. Fo’s extraordinary life, you can find it here.