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Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman

Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Dario Fo
Translated by: Ron Jenkins
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 120
Pub. Date: 1989
ISBN-10: 0573691363
ISBN-13: 9780573691362
Cast Size: 2 women, 6 men

About the Play:

Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman is a full-length comedy by Dario Fo, in a translation by his close collaborator Ron Jenkins. Lascivious, neurotic and narcissistic, the once stoic ruler Elizabeth I of England is now stark raving mad. Her mind conjures up vivid memories and grandly paranoid delusions, first and foremost that William Shakespeare has plagiarized the events of her life in each of his famous plays. A provocative, fast-paced political satire written by Italian playwright Dario Fo, one of the leading figures in modern farce and political drama.

Elizabeth, Almost by Chance a Woman is in equal parts a bawdy burlesque, a riotous nose-thumbing of authority, and a surprisingly touching insight into the challenges of womanhood. This hilarious farce focuses on Elizabeth I of England. It's a devastating satire on politics in the Age of Reagan. Elizabeth is this aging, forgetful monarch, see, who is obsessed with appearances. She is also suspicious of artists such as Shakespeare, who has written a play about some Danish prince which Elizabeth is convinced is really about her. The play is performed for her in a hilarious parody of Hamlet, strained through the garbled pidgin English of Mama Zaza, a drag queen who has earlier told us that the play we are about to see has absolutely nothing to do with Reagan. Drawing on all the energy, spirit and spontaneity of original 16th century Commedia dell'Arte, Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo offers up a modern stage masterpiece which transcends language and culture.

Translated from the Italian play
Coppia aperta, quasi spalanca by Ron Jenkins with the assistance of Arturo Corso, Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman had its American premiere in 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theater.

Cast: 2 women, 6 men

What people say:

"Dario Fo nails pretension and political chicanery with ridicule, laughter, sarcasm, irony and the grotesque... This being Fo, the play is rich with raunch and scatology, may offend the unwary. But for Fo converts, it's a must, just as it's an ideal introduction to one of the world's funniest theatre satirists." — Variety

About the Playwright:

Dario Fo (1926-2016) was a major figure in Twentieth Century Italian drama as an actor, director and author of over 60 plays. His dramatic work employs comedic methods of the ancient Italian Commedia dell'Arte, a theatrical style popular with the working classes. His work is characterized by criticism of organized crime, political corruption, political assassination, the doctrine of the Catholic Church and the conflict in the Middle East. The Nobel Prize in Literature 1997 was awarded to Dario Fo "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden". It is also the first time that the Nobel for the literary arts has been awarded to an actor.

Ron Jenkins is Professor of Theater at Weslyn University, specializes in cross-cultural investigations of clowning. He is a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and his translations of Fo have been staged at the American Repertory Theatre and the Yale Repertory Theatre.

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