In the play, Berlusconi is visited by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who gets shot by Chechen rebels, and part of Putin’s brain is put into the Italian’s head. The result is a vodka-drinking, confused drunk worried about men trapped in a submarine.
There are plenty of satirical points made against Berlusconi, including the censorship of criticism. “We felt we could not sit by and watch what is happening in Italy,” the 77 year-old playwright told the Guardian newspaper.
But Marcello Dell’Utri, a senator in Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, is suing Fo for defamation — to the tune of one million Euros. A shocked Fo said, “I have been doing satire for 40 years. It is paradox. It is grotesque.” But Dell’Utri’s lawyer retorted, “This is not satire. This is persecution.”
Dell’Utri is currently facing accusations of laundering Mafia money through one of Mr. Berlusconi’s companies, a point which Fo’s play rams home, alleging that the senator has Mafia and drug-trafficking connections.
The play is currently running at Rome’s Teatro Olimpico. If it is broadcast on television, the senator has threatened to double his lawsuit.