Saturday, June 01, 2013


This week's sabato musicale is dedicated to Franca Rame, the great actor, playwright and political activist, who died, at the age of 84, on Wednesday.

I was a young Italian graduate when I discovered the theatrical works of Franca Rame and her husband, Dario Fo and I felt that they spoke directly to me and for my generation. It has often been written that the literature of the twentieth century asks the questions rather than providing the answers but Franca Rame had some answers, too;  among them were being politically vigilant, questioning the policies of every political party and never giving up hope.

As the Mayor of Milan said at Franca Rame's lay funeral,

"She had the greatness of one who dreams and one who fights."

Franca Rame fought tirelessly for women and, some years after being abducted, tortured and raped by fascists in 1973, she courageously told her story in a monologue entitled Lo Stupro [The Rape], thus encouraging other Italian women to speak out against this most horrific of crimes. [ Rape was designated "an act of violence against women" in Italian law only in 1996].

At the funeral Dario Fo recited an unpublished monologue written by his wife:  in this story, Eve appears on earth not fashioned from Adam's rib but modelled by God in fine clay. When God asks the couple to choose between the fruits of immortality and the apple, Eve says,

"Just to have consciousness, consciousness, doubts and to experience love - come, death!"

Adam echoes her, saying,

"I have some doubts but I am very curious to discover the mystery of love, even if immediately afterwards I meet my end."

Dario Fo and Franca Rame's son, Jacopo, said, at the funeral,

"Dinosaurs are extinct and people with no love or respect for humanity will become extinct one day too.....I want you to go home with a little faith because, as my mother said, 'God exists and is a communist.' I would add that she is also female."

As Franca Rame had requested, women wore red and sang the partisan song, Bella Ciao at the funeral.  I would like to add my own thanks for the life and work of Franca Rame.


Jenny Woolf said...

I learn something new every day. Thank you for this, Pat.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you for youe kindness in saying so, Jenny.

Sean Jeating said...

Bella Ciao!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Franca would have been delightd to receive your greeting, dear Sean.


View My Stats