Monday, May 25, 2009

Benigni's Dante on US Tour

Oscar winning actor and Italian comedian Roberto Benigni will be coming to America with his one-man monologue based on Dante's 'Inferno'.   Stopping in San Francisco and New York, 'TuttoDante' is Benigni's contemporary take on the classic text, mixed with off-the-cuff political jokes.  He has been performing the show in Italy for the last three years to over a million people.  Though known primarily as a clown, Benigni showcased his intellectual side.  In each performance he recites a canto in Italian of the 'Inferno' from memory and provides detailed explanations of the history and poetry in English.  Benigni still sees himself as more of a entertainer than scholar, and manages to slip in a bucket load of jokes about his nemesis, Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, sending him to the deepest of Dante's depths.  As Benigni says, “Only comedians can talk about death, life, God and Virgin Mary.  If was a tragic actor, I couldn’t allow myself. But with this accent I can do it. I can talk with death in person because I am a clown. Yes. And I am proud to be a clown — very much.”

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