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We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!

We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Dario Fo
Translated by: Ron Jenkins
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 79
Pub. Date: 2005
ISBN-10: 0573627746
ISBN-13: 9780573627743
Cast Size: 2 female, 3 male

About the Play:

We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! is a full-length comedy by Dario Fo, in a translation by his close collaborator Ron Jenkins. With the price of groceries rising every day, what's a poor gal to do? Spontaneously protest by stuffing food down her shirt and pretend to be pregnant of course! Laughs are on special when Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo opens the can on shoplifting. We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! is a side-splitting romp that will have your audience rolling in the (grocery) aisles.

We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! is a hilarious farce featuring a comic duo who experience escapades reminiscent of the Lucy and Ethel characters in "I Love Lucy." Using his own commedia dell'arte-inspired methods, Dario Fo tells the story of two women who find themselves tangled in a web of lies involving groceries and a fake pregnancy. Hungry and fed up by rising prices and stagnant wages, Antonia joins a spontaneous community riot protesting the high prices at a local grocery store where 300 women do the same. Determined to live with dignity and rejecting an austerity diet of dog food and birdseed, the women's protest escalates, and looting ensues. When Antonia comes home with groceries she has stolen, Antonia and her best friend Margherita have some real explaining to do. As police search door to door, these two frantically try to hide their 'liberated' goods from their husbands and the police. In her effort to keep her secret, Antonia hides some of the groceries under Margherita's raincoat. Her husband and Margherita's husband, notice the bulge, of course; but they believe the explanation that Margherita is pregnant! Hilarity is piled upon hilarity as the characters try to extricate themselves from the mess they have gotten into. Can't Pay? Don't Pay! questions why, in a world of bailed-out banks and overpriced prescription drugs, theft is only a crime when it is committed by those truly in need.

We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! premiered in 1999 at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This translation, prepared by Ron Jenkins in consultation with Dario Fo and Franca Rhame (his wife and creative partner), was a success Off Broadway and across the US. The play is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 2 female, 3 male

What people say:

"Hilarious comedy... funnier than anything I've seen in 15 years." — The Village Voice

"The work of a social reformer with a fractured funny bone... Mr. Fo's manic farce should be obligatory viewing for anyone battling, i.e., succumbing to, the high cost of living." — The New York Times

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.

Franca Rame (1929-2013) was an Italian theatre actress, playwright and political activist. She was married to Nobel laureate playwright Dario Fo who dedicated his Nobel Prize to her.

Ron Jenkins is a professor of theatre at Wesleyan University and teaches regularly as a visiting professor of religion and the arts at the Yale Divinity School, Institute of Sacred Music. Serving as the chief American translator for the written and on-stage performances of Dario Fo and Franca Rhame, he worked with the couple since the 1980's and has now become one of the pre-eminent scholars on their work.

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