When a naughty little boy named Jesus and a fashion-obsessed Pope can bring a crowd to roaring laughter, it’s no wonder that there’s a theatre legend behind it.
Renowned actor and director Andrew Buckland gave two exclusive performances of Mistero Buffo this weekend, adapting Dario Fo’s controversial 1969 play to fit a Grahamstown audience. The poignant satire of politics and religion was constantly wrapped in comedy, making the performance magically funny, yet deeply thought provoking.
Buckland explains that the comedy of the play is key, since it gives us a way to access and address deeper issues, such as the criticism of religion, more naturally. Though he is aware that his provocative satire might offend some, especially fundamentalist Christians, Buckland accepts this. “If I believed in God I [would] think he would have a sense of humour!”
Buckland developed the piece from various translations and adaptions of the original, working towards his own interpretation. “I tried to go for the spirit of the play,” he says. This one-man show definitely has spirit, with Buckland expertly embodying around 20 characters, many of which had a distinctly South African edge. The play was surprising and refreshing, with Buckland at one point in a partial headstand as a comment on the purpose of physical theatre which was met with lots of laughter.
The proceeds of both performances went towards bursaries for students. Buckland, also the Head of the Drama department, says this is the first time this has been done. He hopes that the department’s initiative will encourage more fund-raising to allow promising students better opportunities.Share