A "rallying cry for the disenfranchised" at Worthing Theatres

Rhum and Clay bring Dario Fo’s Mistero Buffo to Worthing’s Connaught Studio on Wednesday, June 17, a daring and explosive rallying cry for the disenfranchised.

Mistero Buffo
Mistero Buffo

A travelling storyteller, another employee of the gig economy, rushes from his last delivery of the day to recount ancient tales of Jesus and his life... However these versions aren’t like any you’ve heard before. Darkly comic, sometimes tragic and always subversive, Mistero Buffo takes aim at those who manipulate truth and belief for power and control.

The text is a collection of 13 bible stories inspired by popular forms of traditional European performance and adapted by Fo as a vehicle for his political message.

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Fo would perform these alone on a bare stage and would introduce each one with a kind of lecture, often changing which ones he would perform and their order.

Directed by Nicholas Pitt, the piece is a solo performance by Julian Spooner.

“Myself and the director Nick went to secondary school together and proceeded to go to university together, and at that time we were talking about collaborating on a show. We had been into Dario Fo at secondary school together. We loved his voice. We found Mistero Buffo and we just loved the subversive and ironic energy of it. We were also really interested in physical scripts, and you read it and it virtually jumps off the page at you.

“I went off to Paris to train at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq for two years and Nick went off to train as a director, and ten years after talking about it, we came together and put this on the stage. It premiered in 2018 and it went up to Edinburgh and did very well. Now we are on the road.

“It is just me for 90 minutes. The central character is this storyteller, a jongleur. Dario Fo researched these medieval storytellers that would travel around Italy telling their stories. They were very subversive stories, and they are about attacking the rich and the powerful and the religious hierarchy. The catholic church banned a lot of these stories because they thought they were too subversive, and a lot of the jongleurs were burnt at the stake. Dario Fo researched this part of Italian history that had been eradicated and literally burnt and he brought the stories back and retold them. He felt that these were not the church’s stories. He felt that they belonged to the people. It became like a party piece. He took them to all sorts of different places from stadiums in Milan to car factory workers on strike. He went everywhere with it.

“We were interested that the storyteller was very left wing, and we were thinking about the kinds of places where he took the stories to the working classes, factories and so on. But we wanted to think of a contemporary working class and so decided to make our storyteller a zero-hours contract work. We made our jongleur a Deliveroo worker. After delivering his last curry of the day, he pops into the theatre and tells his stories.”

Tickets from the Worthing Theatres on 01903 206206 and http://worthingtheatres.co.uk.