Tag Archives: Dario Fo

When we held hands

There we were, behind a makeshift curtain on the stage at one of the sixth form colleges in Halmstad, staring down at a bucket filled with compost. And then we walked out in front of the audience, hand in hand, and I certified that I had in fact seen a naked, Spanish man at the back. That’s all Björn Granath needed me for.

I must have looked the type who just adores being the one to ‘volunteer’ to come up on stage. I wasn’t, but realised I had to, since my friends on either side didn’t really fit the bill for looking at naked men.

It was the mid-1970s and we’d come to see Dario Fo’s Dom har dödat en gitarr men folket har tusen åter,* brought to us by Teater Narren. There were two of them, but I can only recall the one who held my hand, and whenever Björn has popped up on screens since that night, I remember the bucket. And how much of an idiot I felt like.

(I have to point out here that bucket of compost in Swedish ‘could’ sound just like naked Spanish man. So I didn’t lie.)

Björn’s character had to persuade the other character that there was this person in a state of undress at the back. Sounds like typical Dario Fo, if you ask me. And I suppose he did ask me.

I’ve just learned that Björn died earlier this month. Far too early. He was only ten years older than me. But at least from those early beginnings, he went on to pretty close to the top in Swedish drama. And now that I’m no longer standing in front of my grinning companions, I suppose I quite liked my couple of minutes up there.

*’Han matado una guitarra’ in honour of the then recently murdered Víctor Jara.

Sweets for anarchists

When I feel particularly energetic, I try and educate my Offspring. It’s never much, but I reckon the odd little attempt is better than total apathy at my end. A few years ago Son and I intended to go and have a look at Dario Fo, when he came to the Gothenburg book fair. I started by getting a copy of some of his plays in English, that I deemed suitable for a 16-year-old. I appear to have judged that right, as Son really liked Fo.

Unfortunately, due to the timetables of Swedish trains on the day, we had to choose between seeing Dario Fo, or get to where we were going. So the train won. But it would have been good to see an icon from my youth, just like that.

A couple of years ago The Accidental Death of an Anarchist was on at the Bolton Octagon, so the witch family went to see it. Had some problems explaining to then 13-year-old Daughter why it could be considered fun to see a play about a man who gets thrown out of a window by the police.

The beginning of the play didn’t go well. Daughter generally had to be bribed, British style, with sweets whenever we watched anything live. At the time she had no idea that it’s considered good manners not to rustle sweet wrappers. After a fair amount of rustling, the actor destined for the window treatment, turned to her and said that if she was going to eat sweets, she’d have to share.

One positive side effect was that the rustling has now diminished. And she loved the play.