Mistero Buffo

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Mistero Buffo ("Comical Mystery") is a play by Dario Fo (1968). It is his solo pièce célèbre, performed across Europe, Canada and Latin America from 1969 to 1999. It is recognised as one of the most controversial and popular spectacles in postwar European theatre and its broadcast in Italy prompted the Vatican to denounce it as "the most blasphemous show in the history of television".

The performance is a series of small one-act plays built around the idea of the travelling players of medieval times, who would travel to towns and villages, bringing the latest news, Fo also performs theatrical pieces which are sometimes subversive in their content. The final section of the collection consists of Passion Plays narrating the life and times of Christ.

Fo's work originates in the surviving texts and descriptions of the giullari. The title of the piece is borrowed from Mystery-Bouffe by Vladimir Mayakovsky.

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The original text

Translations and adaptations

An authorised English translation was done by Ed Emery under the title Mistero Buffo: The Comic Mysteries in 1983. Published in Plays, Dario Fo by Methuen Drama (1997).

Translated into Afrikaans entitled Die Asjaspassie by Herman Pretorius, assisted by Romy Boom, in 1987.

Performance history in South Africa

1991: Presented in Afrikaans at the National Arts Festival Fringe, starring Mariette Hopley, Willem van der Walt and Rochelle de Villiers.

For productions of the Pretorius translation into Afrikaans, see Die Asjaspassie.

2010: Performance of Mistero Buffo (English), performed by Andrew Buckland, presented during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown by members of the ]]Rhodes University Drama Department]] and again from 21 - 24 July.


Wikipedia [1].

The Star, 8 Oct 1991

UTS theatre pamphlet.

National Arts Festival programme, 1991. 173.

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