The Italian Almanac

Dario Fo

Italian News - May 2

Italy's Nobel-prizewinning leftwing playwright Dario Fo is to follow theatre greats Luigi Pirandello and Eduardo De Filippo in receiving an honorary degree from Rome's La Sapienza University. The honour will be conferred on the 80-year-old Fo on May 3 - the 703rd anniversary of the university's foundation.

In announcing the award, the university said it would celebrate Fo's mastery of the art of 'fabulation' - creating fables, often politically charged, based on medieval mystery plays and Italy's unique Commedia dell'Arte forms and characters.

Fo, a self-described 'jester' who is the greatest modern exponent of this anti-establishment tradition, sharpened his wits in social satire after the war and later moved to tragi-comic but fierce political theatre - exemplified by his most famous works, Mistero Buffo (1969) and The Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970).

In awarding him the Nobel, the Swedish Academy said "his independence and his clear vision led him to take great risks". "Fo's strength lies in creating works that entertain you, challenge you and give you perspective", the Stockholm academics said.