• Gustafson directs comedy about the working class
By Randi Somers
Timely as today’s headlines about the economic crisis, Pier One Theatre’s final play of the season humorously brings home working people’s woes as inflation and unemployment squeeze them beyond their means to survive.
Although Dario Fo wrote “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!” in Italy during a previous economic collapse, it clearly resonates in today‘s world. The 1974 play is a farce centering on women taking what they want from a supermarket and only paying what they could afford — or not at all.
Noted for writing plays that rail against various aspects of the establishment, anarchist Fo was initially refused a visa to enter the United States in 1994, but was later admitted to the country. The history of censorship of his work is greatly outweighed by his awards, including the Nobel Prize for literature in 1997.
The story begins when, outraged by an overnight price jump, a store full of women go on a shopping rampage and then walk out with full grocery carts without paying. Their attempts to hide their loot from their husbands and authorities take hilarious turns.
In accordance with Fo’s historic approval of modification and improvisation, Director Kathleen Gustafson tweaked the script to the Homer and Alaska scene, even slipping in a well-placed Palin reference.
Veteran actors, improvising with Gustafson’s enthusiastic encouragement, keep the laughs rolling as the women try to disguise and hide their groceries.
Nancy Chastain (Antonia), Ken Landfield (Giovanni), Megan DeCino (Margherita) and Tom Custer (Luigi) are the two families involved in the “crime,” while Steve (Montana) Zimmerman plays four authority roles; state trooper, police sergeant, grave digger and grandfather.
Gustafson said Pier One’s Artistic Director Lance Petersen chose the play and asked her to direct it.
“I said yes, because I read it and it’s very funny,” Gustafson said. “Besides, Lance has been so good to work with over the years, whatever he asks me to do, I’ll do it.”
Closing out the season, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! runs three weekends, through Sept. 11.
We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!
When: Aug. 27, 28, 29; Sept. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9, 10, 11
Where: Pier One Theatre
Tickets: Etude Studio, The Homer Bookstore, Pier One Theatre on performance nights. Admission: General, $14; Seniors/Students, $13; Raven’s Club $12
More info: 235-7333
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