Ruzzante plays Ruzante
first pray to Cardenal Scornaro
1496 or 1494. Or perhaps the beginning of the sixteenth century. Born in Padova (or perhaps in Pernumia) Angelo Beolco. He is a son of a servant who serves in the house of a young doctor who falls in love with her and makes her mother. This doctor, originally from Milan in Italy, was called Francesco Beolco. He came from a very wealthy family, aristocratic, business owners in the branch of weaving. Will become a great doctor, true master of his profession: teaching at the University of Padua and later rector of the Faculty of Medicine. At twenty-five, before getting married, he falls for a girl who works as a domestic servant in the house, makes us love, gets her pregnant. To avoid scandal the servant is brought into the country in the Beolco farm, so she free herself of the child, in secret. The mother of Francesco, the doctor, has a wrist woman, extraordinary, generous and strict morality. She discovers the reasons of removal of young, travels in the country, reports the servant with the baby at home and requires Francesco to recognize the child, at least as a natural child. In a nutshell: a bastard. The little young, illegitimate, but not excluded from Beolco family, he is literally worshiped by Paola grandmother who imposes a variation in the will in his favor. He will live in the manor house, but he will not be given to attend high school. At fifteen he demonstrates an extraordinary talent (that is not the case of the actor who plays him now): it translates from Latin fast, speaks and writes do not know how many languages, know the math, physics, geometry and shows a natural talent for the theater. It has all the numbers to enter in the University, but he was not granted because the bastards in the sixteenth century it was forbidden access. The poor boy suffer like a dog. The story goes that one day, to be able to attend a lesson, even disguises itself as a porter, he pretends attendant; is discovered and sent away to kick, he is the son of the rector. Angel spent his teenage years in the house of the San Daniele that was provided to a stable. The young man had soon become familiar with the animals, with whom he spent most of his time. In the fourth scene of the second act of Anconitana, he explains how his Ruzante nickname comes from the fact that they have practiced the animals. In fact, when sier Thomao asks him: “Ti diè aver nome Ruzante, perché ti ruzi sempre, n’è vero?” Angelo answers: “El me derto lome è Perduòçimo, mo quando iera putato, che andaséa con le bièstie, sempre mé a’ ruzava o con cavale, o con vache, o con scroe, o con piegore … . E perzòntena i me messe lome Ruzante, perché a’ ruzava”.
Ruzante, so called from the name of one of his characters, is the greatest playwright that Europe has had in the Renaissance before the advent of Shakespeare. Playwright, actor, comedian, anticipated masks and typical plots of the commedia dell’arte and has combined the tragic and the comic in such a way that Ariosto, his contemporary, described it as wonderful. Highly educated man, Ruzante opposed to conventional roles both in society and in the literature, making fun of the presumptuous and academics. His works were censored for three centuries after the Counter-Reformation; rediscovered by the French, they came back on the Italian scene only in the last century. The comedies of Ruzante are inspired by the ‘mariazi‘ traditional and obscene farces of Boccaccio derivation: in highly realistic language of Pavano dialect, they have represented the themes of all time, as the fatigues of labor but also the pleasures of life, the contrast between town and country, the social injustice… Ruzante farmer shows us, even in the joke and irony, the tensions affecting the most humble social classes, the human action violence and the ‘inverted world ‘- the world upside down –.
Ruzante has only eighteen when he meets his patron. He is Alvise Cornaro, writer and architect. Many Cornaro have been the doges of Venice, this however is marked by an incredible curse that bears on her forehead: his father, grandparents and uncles were driven out from Venice for treason and scam against the State; so now all the Cornaro family together exiled, forced out of the San Marco lagoon. But not doing bad either, reside in one of the most beautiful villas of the sixteenth century in Padua. Alvise Cornaro was above all an prepared intellectual , a scientist, so much he wrote texts and studies even today consulted in universities: hygienistic essays, architecture and hydraulics. It is to him that today the Serenissima is not reduced to the same condition of the actual Ravenna: that is literally covered with sand. To save the silting Alvise realized the deviation of three rivers, which still spill their waters in the lagoon of Venice. Again he shifted the course of the high Po forcing him to discharge at the north and south sides of the Serenissima. He saved Venice, but is forced to stay always out!
Alvise discharges their melancholy benefiting every talented man who he happens to meet. As a true patron discovers and supports artists such as Tiziano, Giorgione, Calmo, Ariosto and Aretino. When he meets Ruzante he immediately senses the remarkable qualities and becomes her protector. Ruzante is hosted in his villa and offers him a company, a real theater company which, although made up of amateurs, acts in continuity. The first stage credits of Ruzante get extraordinary successes, but fame explodes when he recites a prayer for Marco Cornaro, Cardinal Archbishop, the vicepapa, cousin of Alvise. No coincidence that Marco Cornaro is defined vicepapa: in fact this role he was the commitment which had been intended by the Pope himself.
alfredo de venuto
(compendium of extracts from Dario Fo repeats and recites Ruzante, text and translation of Franca Rame, 1993 et other writings)
THE FIRST SPEECH. A PLAYFUL LETTER
In the summer of 1521, Cardinal Marco Cornaro had taken office in the archbishopric of Padua, welcomed with solemn speeches by the authorities. In the imagination of the author Ruzzante also takes his own speech, implicitly opposed to that of the official oratories, advancing a series of proposals on behalf of the peasants, all revolving around the primary themes of hunger and sex. In the end he comes to hypothesize a perfect society where every man in the country is allowed to have four wives and to every farmer four husbands. In this way the rivalry between city and country, between citizens and peasants, will fail and only one family will form. The text is in ancient paduan dialect.
This monologue, recognized as a masterpiece of the “oratorical art“, describes the life of the peasants who live in the countryside between Padua and Venice. The spokesman of the rural community, Ruzante, a simple man of great vitality and playfulness, asks Cardinal Cornaro to introduce new laws based on pleasure and natural needs to free people from the constraints of morals and subjection to privileged classes.
In the Speech the tender sympathy for the peasant people prevails, which is congeniality for all the poor, oppressed, unjustly misunderstood people. Such sympathy, which in a more or less open way pervades almost all the work of Beolco, assumes, in the Speech, the most excitingly debate form in defense of the men of the country house, in which, moreover, that dream of a natural life is reflected and that for the author also coincides with the full health of the spirit.