Death of Franca Rame, actor and political activist

The funeral of actor, communist and feminist activist Franca Rame was held in Milan on the morning of Friday 31st May 2013. She died aged 84.

Submitted by StrugglesInItaly on June 3, 2013


Franca Rame was the spouse and coworker of Dario Fo, 1997 Nobel Prize winner for Literature, and mother of Jacopo Fo, writer, activist and actor. As a young actor, Franca Rame married Dario Fo in 1954, and together they created the Dario Fo–Franca Rame Theatre Company, which brought life to pieces known all over the world. Accidental Death of an Anarchist, their most famous work, dealt with the death of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli who fell – or rather was thrown – from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969.

Following the success of that piece, Franca Rame was kidnapped, raped and tortured by a group of fascists. Investigations discovered that the atrocity had been suggested by high-ranking officials in Milan’s Carabinieri. Unfortunately, nobody was found guilty for the appalling actions. A few years later, during a monologue, she remembered and shared the experience. The piece, broadcast on public television during a family TV show, caused a great deal of discussion throughout Italy.

Franca Rame was a member of the Italian Communist Party and, when it collapsed, of the Communist Refoundation Party. In 2006 she was elected a Senator of the Republic, as part of the Italy of Values party, but she left her political position due to political disagreement with Romano Prodi’s second cabinet.

During the funeral ceremony, Dario Fo read aloud for the first time in public a piece written by Franca. It tells a different version of the Genesis story in which Eve is the first human being. Eve and Adam choose the apple together, not because they were tempted by the snake but because they choose one mortal life, full of love and other human beings, rather than an eternal life without them.

Jacopo Fo spoke about the abduction of his mother, remembering that it happened because she was both “a woman, a beautiful woman, and a real pain in the neck. And they couldn’t stand it”. He also remembered what his mother had always told him: “Remember that God exists, and he is communist!”

On Friday morning Franca Rame was remembered by many thousands of people who wore red clothes with red roses, as she had asked.

More sources and information are here.



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Submitted by Spikymike on June 3, 2013

Though I have in the distant past seen three of Darrio Fo's better known plays in English I wasn't very knowledgeable about his partner Franca Rame but did see this longish obit in the UK Guardian which has some additional info: