Last Updated 20 Jun 2022

Dramatic Conventions

Category Comedy, Drama
Words 968 (3 pages)
Views 544

Dario Fo- Can’t Pay? Won’t pay! Can't Pay? Won't Pay! Is based on Dario Fo's "Non Si Paga? Non Si Paga! ", a political work that he wrote to highlight the dilemma of ordinary Italian workers during the economic crisis of the 1970s. It is said that through Dario Fo’s plays he becomes both the peoples entertainer and the peoples spokesman. What is meant by this is that Fo better connects with his audience by entertaining them with their own thoughts. He speaks for the audience and stands up for the working class citizens and political injustice.

His play implied that he had full support for the lower class workers even though they commit crimes. He believed that they had no other choice than to do so, they only did it to survive. Throughout Can’t Pay? Won’t pay! Fo uses various dramatic conventions. One Dramatic convention that Fo uses to better connect with the audience is the breaking of the fourth wall. In drama the fourth wall is the invisible wall that stands between the actors on stage and the audience, it separates the world and situations created on stage from our reality.

What it means to break the fourth wall is that the actors have broken down the theoretical wall between the world on stage and reality, making the audience aware that they are in fact watching a play. The way that Fo breaks down the fourth wall is by the use of the same actor in multiple roles. The character of the sergeant, inspector, old man and undertaker was played by the same actor. Fo did this to create a realisation in the audience that they had seen the same man previously making them aware that they are in fact watching a play therefore breaking down the fourth wall.

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Another dramatic convention that Fo’s uses throughout Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! Is the use of slapstick humor. Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated physical violence or activities which exceed the boundaries of common sense, such as in the scene where Margherita and Antonia are convincing the inspector that Margherita is going into labour when she really just has stolen goods hidden underneath her shirt. By using this style of comedy Fo connects with the middle class working man. Though this style of comedy is extremely entertaining Fo in fact is distracting us from his real point.

The point that he is trying to make by using this style of comedy is saying that the government is like the style of comedy how they exceed the boundaries of common sense. Another dramatic convention used throughout the play is black humor. “Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! ” Also deals with death. This happens when the sergeant accidentally bumps his head and fall unconscious. Whilst trying to revive the sergeant Antonia and Margherita give the sergeant hydrogen, which does not revive him but causes his belly to swell.

This makes them believe that they have killed a policeman. Black humor made up of domestic violence and death is one of the most unique assets of the drama. Coincidences also play an important role throughout the play. Using coincidences Fo brings comedy to his audience. One example of this is example is that when Luigi and Giovanni are having difficulty deciding where to hide the sacks without being caught by the authorities this is when the undertaker appears. So both Giovanni and Luigi decide to put the sacks into the casket so that they may not be found.

At the end of the play, Giovanni and Antonia find both of them have stolen something and that both of them had hid the stuff in their house. Without This coincidence they would not have been lead them to apologize to each other in the end. Throughout Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! Fo integrated real political events in his play. This play is based on a true event He was inspired by a consumer revolt during the economic crisis of the mid-1970s in which people had declined to pay inflated prices.

Increased living costs and higher unemployment rates at the time made it difficult for the working class to survive. In this play, Fo let people of the lower class and working class such as housewives and factory workers, revolt to fight for their own rights of survival. For my practical work with a monologue from Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! I had played the character of Giovanni. I had recreated the scene from act one where Giovanni cleans up after Margherita’s water breaks. The character Giovanni is a man of integrity.

He would rather die than steal and had even claimed he would kill his wife if he ever found out that she has stolen. He created Giovanni to mock those in society who obey the government under any circumstances. This scene perfectly illustrates his point. In this scene we see that Giovanni is quite naive to the process of childbirth and is willing to accept it even though it makes no sense whatsoever. This is shown in the line “Blimey, all this water! But what a strange smell, like vinegar… yeah, sort of brine. I’ll be damned I didn't know that before being born we spent nine months brine? ”.

As we can see Giovanni is extremely gullible and will believe almost anything that he is told, this also adds to the comedic element of the scene. Dario Fo’s play “Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! ” Has used various types of dramatic conventions such as black humor, the breaking down of the fourth wall, use of slapstick humor and coincidences. These features are why Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! Has become one of Fo’s most famous works of drama. Fo’s Trait of writing politically controversial plays about working class has changed views on political injustice and has successfully obtained the support of audiences everywhere.

Dramatic Conventions essay

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