Wednesday, August 19, 2009

¡No Se Paga! We Won’t Pay! , Teatro Vivo at Salvage Vanguard Theatre, August 13 - 30

On the evidence of this production alone, I would have to conclude that Rupert Reyes is a better playwright than Dario Fo, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1997.

Fo, a prolific and provocative theatre artist, was in the thick of Italian political debate from the 1960s through the 1990s. He and his wife Franca Rame were social activists and she was a member of the Italian Communist Party. They and others occupied an abandoned factory in Milan in 1973, titled it "Liberty Square" (Palazzina Liberty) and established a wildly popular theatre that garnered 80,000 season subscribers within a year.

Those were dangerous years in Italy for leftists. Rame was abducted, tortured and raped by a fascist group.

Fo's company staged Non si paga, non si paga! (often translated into English as Can't Pay? Won't Pay!) the following year. The farce dramatizes the plight of factory workers exploited by owners and abused by law enforcement.

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