Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo on being on the list of censored authors with Shakespeare


Photograph above: screenshot from the Corriere Della Sera

English translation of the Italian article "Dario Fo bandito in Turchia 'È come vinceree il secondo Nobel'" published in Italian in the Corriere Della Sera

on 2 September 2016


“It’s like winning another Nobel Prize”

His theatre texts have been censored together with texts by Shakespeare, Chekov and Brecht “They’re all dead except for me. Let’s hope Erdogan doesn’t find out.”

By Giuseppina Manin

“I am honoured. I’ll be sending a thank you note to Erdogan for including me in such a prestigious circle”. With his usual irony, Dario Fo comments on his being banned from Turkish theatres, together with Shakespeare, Chekov and Brecht. “It’s excellent company. I consider it my second Nobel Prize.”

How did you find out about being censored?

“An Turkish actor friend of mine called me. Many of my texts had been played in the past few days across the country, amongst which “Non si paga non si paga” (“Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!”) and “Morte accidentale di un anarchico” (“Accidental death of an anarchist”). The latter must have bothered them a lot because it must have read like an accusation against the Turkish police and its methods.”

Which analogies are there effectively?

“The bombs in the streets, the innocent in jail, the torture, the cover-ups of the truth… All of those elements that are called “Massacres of the state” on all the banners.

Complaints that regimes cannot endure, not even on stage. Erdogan says he only wants Turkish theatre.

“It’s always a bad sign when you strive towards cultural autarchy. And when its rage turns against the theatre, against culture it means that you’re afraid of someone else’s point of view; that they see you as a threat. Fascism was at its worst when it agonized. In that sense, when it comes to Turkey, you can only hope.”

Have you ever been in this country?

“No. And at this point I doubt I ever will…It’s tougher over there. I remember well what happened in ’93 in Anatolia when 33 intellectuals were burned alive in a hotel in Sivas.”

In the end, do you find this ban amusing?

“Not really. I am proud to be considered hazardous over there. I have made it my profession to annoy people. For decades I had been censored during the times of Christian democracy, and had been banned from the churches and from TV. That my pieces still bug anyone makes me happy. Plus, there’s a Darwin problem. Recently, I’ve been dealing with Darwin both in a book and in an exhibition. In Turkey, some people perceive you like smoke in their eyes, so much so that there’s an anti-Darwin movement created by Said Nursi, incidentally Erdogan’s mentor.”

At whose side Putin has now also been parading…

“Not for scientific reasons… Oil and business, as Pope Francis says, are the incentive for everything. They are worth more than beauty, love or respect for others.”

In short, you’re a bit worried.

“Of course I am. Erdogan has named four of us, and of those four I am the only one still alive. I hope he doesn’t know that. And I hope no one will tell him.”