Trumpets and Raspberries
by Dario Fo
"The acting was faultless...a superb job..."
About the play
Like so many of Fo’s plays, Trumpets and Raspberries presents two distinct problems to any theatre company thinking of staging it. One lies in the script and the other in the staging. If the play weren’t so brilliantly funny we would have given up. However, having directed Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay many years ago, Darian knew just how rewarding Dario Fo can be: for actors, crew and of course for audiences.
The play, originally called Clacson, Trombette e Pernacchi (Car horns, trumpets and raspberries) was first staged in 1981. It centres on a real political figure, Agnelli who was head of the Fiat corporation. The political references and jokes throughout the play rely on an audience having a solid understanding of Italian politics of the 60s and 70s. There are references to other famous figures, incidents and political groups peppered throughout the script. In order to retain the essential Italian humour without confusing modern audiences we chose to update the politics to more recent times. What could be more relevant and amusing than the recent ‘celibate’ campaign for office by Silvio Berlusconi?
So now our play involves the kidnapping and accidental maiming of Berlusconi and the subsequent re-building of his face by a god like plastic surgeon. Unfortunately he is working from the wrong blue prints (photos!) and so we end up with two identical looking characters at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Confused? Not half as confused as everyone else is! With secret agents and special forces coming out of the woodwork at every turn (literally!) the scene is set for a classic Fo farce. It’s fast and physical and very, very funny.
As for the second problem I mentioned at the beginning (you know, the one about staging) well suffice to say animated furniture and a window with a mind of its own are merely challenges to Tony Wood and his team at Northend Productions. There isn’t a set yet written that they can’t build.