Female Parts

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

AT: Tutto casa, letto e chiesa (All Home, Bed, and Church) A: Dario Fo and Franca Rame Pf: 1977, Milan Pb: 1978 Tr: 1981 G: 3 [of 25] monodramas in 1 act; Italian prose S: (1 and 2) Apartments in an Italian tenement building, 1970s; (3) Apartment, doctor's surgery, hospital, 1970s C: 1f in each(1) Waking Up or Arise and Shine (Il risveglio). It is 6.30 a.m., and the woman has overslept. While her husband Luigi sleeps on, she leaps out of bed, changes the baby's nappy ready for the nursery, panics about the loss of her door-key, and has to change the nappy again. She complains that, while she has a full-time job in the factory, she also has to do all the housework and child care. Luigi, who was spoilt by his mother, is penitent and has said that he will change. As she is about to rush out, she suddenly realizes it is Sunday. Joyously, she goes back to bed. (2) A Woman Alone (Una donna sola). Maria, in her thirties, dressed in a flimsy negligée, is ironing and chatting to a neighbour opposite. Her jealous husband locks her in their apartment when he goes to work and phones to check on her, while she does the housework and looks after her baby and her invalid brother-in-law. She threatens to shoot a peeping Tom opposite. She tells of a young student with whom she had an affair, which is why her husband now keeps her locked up. Her lover comes and gets his hand stuck in the door after unpicking the lock, the brother-in-law is intent on molesting her, the baby cries, and she gets a phone call from a father claiming her husband has made his daughter pregnant. Driven to distraction, she almost shoots herself. Instead, she pushes the baby outside, shoots at the peeping Tom, and aims the gun at the door, ready for her husband's return. (3) The Same Old Story (Abbiamo tutte la stessa storia). A woman is being made love to inexpertly by a left-wing activist. Pregnant, she goes to the doctor, but refuses an abortion when she learns how much it will cost. Passing rapidly through the stages of pregnancy, she complains that men never have to give birth. She is disappointed when she gives birth to a baby girl, but gets into the routine of caring for her. She tells her daughter a lengthy story of a girl with a doll, who grows up to marry an electronic engineer and settles to a tedious life. Eventually the doll gets stuck up the engineer's rear, causing him to explode. At last she is free, and when she begins to tell other women the bizarre tale, they reply: ‘It's the same old story for us all!’Franca Rame developed these scenes with her husband Dario Fo, who then scripted them. Depending on the lively comic tradition of the commedia dell'arte, the pieces do not contain any great subtlety, but are amusing populist pieces of theatre, requiring minimal scenery. Although the stance is uncompromisingly feminist, the plays do not offer crude propaganda: there is an understanding of Luigi's situation in Waking Up and, tellingly, the woman in The Same Old Story is initially sorry that her child is not male.


Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

Reference entries

Dario Fo (b. 1926) Italian dramatist

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.