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grayness of life, a tension further stretched by our own reflection in the play before us. The first half ends with the fallen angel attempting to murder his creator, the man who gave him life and words. In the second, all is changed, as MacDonald and Prowse spin a profoundly moving dying spiral into inward realms of silence and despair. The wordsmith , face shot off, bandaged but for an eye, is robbed of speech; the father is condemned to relive the child. As bright down light gives way to dim upward beams and the candles' flickering circle (the wheel of fire?), so too does the clangor of men in their pride melt into metaphysical scraps from The Guise ("Courts adieu, and vain delights / All bewitching appetites"). It must be said that all is not of a piece. The play's lack of complicating incident enforces a passive role upon its protagonist and, in the process, tends to underline its schematic symbology. Prowse's genius is visual and conceptual and, consequently, there are longeurs, unalleviated by the occasional subordination of actors' power to a director's theatre. Such flaws interrupt but do not cancel the event's exhilaration and voluptuous excess. Not least among the ironies of this anal, bloody, and grotesquely amusing tribute to theatre's crudest energies is its enshrining of The Word. Thus is a hat only half-mockingly tipped to the curse and glory of British theatre by the one company least in thrall to its dominant tradition. ABOUT FACE Dario Fo Directed by Andrei Belgrader Yale Repertory Theatre (New Haven) NO SE PAGA! NO SE PAGA! Dario Fo Directed by R.G. Davis Teatro Cuatro (New York) Alisa Solomon In the last year, America's regional theatres have begun to latch onto the popular, political, and zany drama of Dario Fo which has had widespread success in his native Italy, throughout Europe, and among political theatre people here for over a decade. This year, Fo plays have been produced at the Mark Taper Forum, Syracuse Stage, L.A. Actors' Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago, to name a 63 few. It is curious, given Fo's clearly leftist politics, that there should be such a major Fo bandwagon. Perhaps his plays' commercial success in England and their genuine hilarity have assauged managing directors' fears that Fo's anti-establishment views would put off the upper-middle class subscribers they are struggling to attract and hold. Moreover, it seems that regional theatres have discovered a way to eviscerate Fo's politics from his plays, even though he has explained the purpose of his farcical style as "using the grotesque and satire in such a way that the comedian's distorting lens enables the public to experience a synthesizing, didactic vision, which means giving them alternatives or moments of critical reflection." Thus, with few exceptions, Fo's introduction to America (he has never performed here himself, having been denied a visa by the State Department in 1980) has been more mild than he might have hoped. Two recent American productions of Fo's plays, About Face at the Yale Repertory Theatre, and No Se Paga! No Se Paga! at Teatro Cuatro, demonstrate disparate approaches to Fo's work that perhaps reflect the two theatre's purposes in choosing to present the plays. The Englishlanguage premiere of About Face at the Yale Rep provides an example of the problem of producing Fo for the regional theatre subscription audience. This production, directed by Andrei Belgrader, succeeds as an amusing, at times side-splitting farce. It is funny, quick-paced, and generally wellperformed . But it does little to shake up American audiences' notions of the machinations of capitalism, the power of money, government, terrorismFo 's major targets of criticism In this play. This is a difficult issue, however, since to do so would have required a major adaptation of the script. Spinning off the Red Brigade's abduction and murder of Prime Minister Moro, About Face supposes an attempted kidnapping of Gianni Agnelli, the owner of Fiat, and of a good deal of Italy. In Fo's play, however, the kidnapping fails, Agnelli suffers...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 63-66
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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