Mario Pirovano

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Mario Pirovano
Born (1950-04-20) 20 April 1950 (age 67)
Milan, Italy
Occupation Theatrical actor and storyteller, translator

Mario Pirovano (Milan, 20 April 1950) is an Italian theatrical actor, storyteller, translator and interpreter of Dario Fo's monologues.


Mario Pirovano grew up in Pregnana Milanese, a village just outside Milan. From the age of 12, he worked in a wide variety of jobs and at 24 he moved to England where he lived and worked for a decade. In 1983, he saw Dario Fo and Franca Rame performing Mistero Buffo at the Riverside Studios in London,[1] an experience which inspired him to begin working in the theatre himself.


After a meeting with Dario Fo and Franca Rame, Pirovano joined their acting company as a translator, walk-on performer, electrical assistant, stagehand, editorial material distribution manager, stage manager and assistant director. In the subsequent years, he followed the two actors on their international tours while starting to collaborate with their son Jacopo Fo at the Free University of Alcatraz in Gubbio. After many years of working with, for and under the two actors, he became well-versed in their texts and acting rules. In 1992 he debuted his solo show, 'Mistero Buffo'.[2]

Both in Italy and abroad, he has performed some of the most famous Dario Fo monologues.[3][4] Besides Fo's plays, he has performed some texts from other authors: in 2001, he performed 'Vino divino' by Marco Paoli,[5] in 2003, Le jeu de Robin et Marion[6] by Adam de la Halle, and in 2005, The pope cowboy: life, adventures and battles of Julius II by Marco Ghelardi.[7] More recently, he has been performing choice verses from contemporary poets.[8]


After the adaptation from classical French to Italian of Adam de La Halle's Le jeu de Robert et Marion, he began translating two of Fo's texts: in 2002, Johan Padan a la descoverta de le Americhe (Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas) and in 2009, Lu Santo Jullare Françesco (Francis the Holy Jester).[9] Both texts were originally composed in a particular language, a mixture of dialects from Padania and certain expressions, sounds and neologisms which most characterise Fo's monologues. In 2009, Fo's text on Saint Francis was published by Beautiful Books.[10]

In 2011, Pirovano translated Dario Fo and Jacopo Fo unreleased text entitled La ballata di John Horse (“The Ballad of John Horse”) based on the victorious rebellion of the American Indian tribe, the Seminoles.[11]

He has also translated into English four works from the Renaissance playwright Angelo Beolco called Ruzante, based on the re-writing of the texts by Dario Fo and presented them in Portugal during the European Union Grundtvig programme.[12]

Plays in English and Spanish[edit]

Under the patronage of the Italian Cultural Institute, and the Dante Alighieri Society, Pirovano performs Dario Fo's most famous monologues all around the world. In the 1998-2003 editions of the Festival ‘Un puente, dos culturas’ in Argentina he performed Johan Padan en el Descubrimiento de las Américas.[13][14][15][16] Also in 2003, Pirovano performed the Mistero Buffo (Misterio Bufo) in Spanish in Spain for the Festival of the Commedia dell’Arte in Alcalà Henarez.[17] In 2002, he recited in English Johan Padan and the Discovery of America[18] at Riverside Studios in London and then, in 2003, in Australia.[19][20] In 2004, he performed the same play in Canada[21] and, in 2005, in France,[22] then in Greece[23] and finally in Hong Kong.[24] In 2006, he took the Spanish version of Johan Padan to Venezuela[25] and in 2008 to Colombia.[26]

In 2009, he toured England with the English version of Francis the Holy Jester[27] performing the play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,[28] where he received high praise from critics.[29]

In the two years following, Pirovano promoted "Francis the Holy Jester" in Palestine,[30] in Pakistan,[31] Ethiopia,[32] Kenya,[33] England and Ireland.[34]

In 2012, he performed Francis the Holy Jester in Sweden and Norway,[35] then in the USA, on an invitation from St. Bonaventure University, the oldest Franciscan community in the US.[36][37] The American tour included theaters and Universities like Princeton and Harvard.[38][39] Since 2012, he has continued to perform widely and conduct theatre workshops around Europe, particularly in Portugal, the United Kingdom and Belgium.

Television and cinema[edit]

In 1988, he acted in a recurring role in all of the episodes in Trasmissione Forzata,[40] a RAI3 adaptation written and directed by Dario Fo.

He appeared in the 1991 thriller by Alfonso Brescia entitled Omicidio a luci blu.[41]

Didactic work[edit]

Aside from acting, Pirovano conducts many seminars and workshops in national and international theatres, schools and Universities, including in Islamabad,[42] Nairobi, Free University of Alcatraz in Gubbio (Italy),[43] Tavira (Portugal),[44] Hoga Kusten (Sweden),[45] and Rochester, New York (USA).[46]


  1. ^ Jessica Cribiù, Pregnana-Londra, andata e ritorno, Intervista a Mario Pirovano, Pregnana informazione, settembre 2009
  2. ^ Fulvio Paloscia, Ecco Pirovano, l'uomo venuto da Fo, La Repubblica, 8 Agosto 1993
  3. ^ Centro sociale S.G.A. di Arese, 1997[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Carcano 2004-2008, 2009-2011
  5. ^ Vino divino of Marco Paoli
  6. ^ Le jeu de Robin et Marion
  7. ^ PrimaFila, Rassegna stampa, Giulio II: protagonista in teatro di un pezzo di storia, Marzo 2004 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-13. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  8. ^ Collection 7x11, the poetry of the artists Archived 2012-04-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Nicolò Menniti-Ippolito, Semprevivo Mistero Buffo: il teatro-icona di Dario Fo, Il Mattino di Padova, 28-2-2012
  10. ^ ‘Francis the Holy Jester’ by Dario Fo, translated by Mario Pirovano, London, Beautiful Books Limited, 2009, ISBN 978-1-905636-71-6 [1]
  11. ^ eIndian
  12. ^ Theatre Metalanguages from the XVI to the XXI century in Europe with Ruzante, Tavira, 10-19/12/2011 [2][permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Mabel Itzcovich, De Italia a la Recoleta,, 2-11-1998
  14. ^ ad’e, Festival Italo-Argentino. Teatro y musica un ponte, due culture, Giornale Regione Marche, 1998 [3]
  15. ^ Ilda Cabrera, Los italianos no conocen bien la cultura argentina, Pagina/12, Buenos Aires, 26-10-2000, pag. 32 [4]
  16. ^ José Rovira Collado, De Isabel, tres carabelas y un charlatán a Johan Padan en el Descubrimiento de América, pag. 176 [5]
  17. ^ [6]
  18. ^ [7][permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Johan Padan in Melbourne, Franca Rame-Dario Fo archives , pag. 1-3, 6-7 [8][permanent dead link]
  20. ^ Sydney, Wesley Theatre, 28/10/2003
  21. ^ Vancouver, Frederic Wood Theatre, 12–13 November 2004, archives 2004/2005 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  22. ^ Salon Italia 2005-L’art de vivre Italien, 3-5 Juin 2005, Paris Archived 2009-06-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Un bellissimo evento culturale a Samothraki, Egeo del Nord, Lega italo-ellenica, 7 Luglio 2005 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  24. ^ 33° Hong Kong Arts Festival
  25. ^ Johan Padan en el Descubrimiento de las Américas con Mario Pirovano llega a Barcelona, 29/09/2006 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  26. ^ Barranquilla, 3° Carnaval de Las Artes
  27. ^ Presentation by the Italian Institute of Culture in London Archived 2013-12-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ Edinburgh Festival Guide, 2009
  29. ^ Press review synthesis on Pigrecodelta 2009
  30. ^ Anche Luciano Basso e Mario Pirovano a Gerusalemme per Time for responsibilities,, 8/8/2009 [9]
  31. ^ Italian actor performs in an ‘afternoon for memory, The Express Tribune, 1/08/2010 [10]
  32. ^ Settimana lingua italiana: Mario Pirovano ad Addis Abeba,, 21/10/2010 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  33. ^ A Nairobi arriva ‘Lu Santo Jullare’ di Fo,, 27/10/2010, pag.1-2 [11]
  34. ^ Enzo Farinella, Lu Santo Jullare Francesco: una commedia da non perdere,, 21 Novembre 2011 [12]
  35. ^ Gregor Flakierski,: En guda-benadad gycklare, Tidningenkulturen, September 17, 2012 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  36. ^ Tom Missel, Rousing performance at Bona, Olean Times Herald, October 4, 2012 [13]
  37. ^ New York, Casa italiana Zerilli-Marimò[permanent dead link]
  38. ^ Princeton University, October 23, 2012
  39. ^ Nicola Orichuia, Mario Pirovano brings Francis, Dario Fo to Boston area, Bostoniano, October 20, 2012 [14]
  40. ^ Photographs of Mario Pirovano during "Trasmissione forzata"[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ Cast of Omicidio a luci blu by Alfonso Brescia, 1991
  42. ^ NCA theatre sails through ice and fire, NCA Departement of Theatre, 8/08/2010 [15]
  43. ^ Grundtvig workshop Performa-training Pathways for actors, 14-23 Giugno 2011
  44. ^ reference n. 13
  45. ^ workshop at Hoga Kusten Archived 2013-12-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  46. ^ workshop 'The art of Story Telling' at the University of Rochester


  • Marco Fazzini, a cura di, Canto un mondo libero, Edizioni ETS, 2012, pag.247 [16]
  • Maggie Rose, Sogni e incubi della ragione. Edimburgo, Hystrio, n.4, dicembre 2009, pag. 8 [17][permanent dead link]
  • Mario Pirovano, La mia Umbria, Valley Life, n. 47, settembre 2008, pag. 28-31
  • Luca Pagni, Mario Pirovano: attore di studio, Eventi culturali, febbraio 2007, pag. 90-91
  • Tiziana Voarino, Giulio II: protagonista in teatro di un pezzo di storia, PrimaFila, n.104, marzo 2004, pag. 59
  • Silvia Mastagni, Arezzo: luoghi nuovi per un teatro nuovo. Il teatro e il sacro tra cripte e castelli, Hystrio, n. 4, dicembre 1993, pag. 37 [18]
  • Maria Pia Damiani, L’attore, Trend professioni, n. 9, ottobre 1992, pag. 12-13

Related entries[edit]

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