This production of Mistero Buffo was first presented at the Balcony theater of West Park Presbyterian Church, in New York, in May 2016. Maybe it was our deep desire to play. Or maybe it was our unfounded confidence that we were worthy of this story. But, by the time we realized this was an impossible project, Panos and I had committed to presenting the piece.
The original production was an exploration of the tension between the co-expression of laughter and the prudence of restrictions that religion implies. The Guillare was established as a new protagonist against the rules of religion, facilitating a conversation between the audience and the physical space of the church.
Shortly after our shows at at the Balcony Theater, Panos moved to Los Angeles. However, despite the time difference, Mistero Buffo became an excuse to continue being in touch about our artistic practice. Are we on the right path? Are we telling the right story? Our creative relationship, initiated by Dario Fo’s work, continued with one impossible task after the other.
In January 2017, the political conversation in the USA changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined. I believe many new comedians have emerged since then, to express this unfortunate turn in history. On our side, being an international artist definitely didn’t get easier.
This new “impossible” situation gave a new mission to our story. Through this re-imagining of Biblical Stories, Dario Fo brought to light the function of power over the human condition. Mistero Buffo suggests that the way power manifests in everyday life, is fear. Thus, the Guillare steps up like a white knight in the land of fear.
There are two ways to settle one’s fear: faith and laughter. From the beginning of time, people have worshiped their fears as Gods, fabricating a misconception around respect. Maybe, there is a reason for laughter’s banishment from churches, classrooms, courtrooms and parliaments. I would not dare to cast a stone at those who believe in what I doubt, but I would strongly urge them to laugh more.
It’s all impossible, but not unimaginable. Walk forward unafraid.
- Lyto Triantafyllidou