Directing debut explores timely issue of money

Titchfield Festival Theatre is performing Can't Pay, Won't Pay from April 11-21.
Titchfield Festival Theatre is performing Can't Pay, Won't Pay from April 11-21.

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Having been with Titchfield Festival Theatre for the past 10 years, drama teacher Hannah Wood had never directed a production for the group.

But one play she thought was particularly apt in the current economic climate was Dario Fo’s 1974 play, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay.

Set in a working class suburb of Milan, the play focuses on a demonstration by housewives against the rising prices of food at their supermarket.

Directing the production, Hannah says: ‘It’s one I’ve read a lot and I saw it a few years ago. It’s a particularly funny play.

‘It’s quite apt with this political climate and it’s very funny to laugh at the situation. It’s always happened and it’s been going on for a long time now.’

Having directed productions with her students in the past, Hannah is enjoying the chance to do it with adults, and says: ‘It’s a lot of fun and I’m very much enjoying it.’

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay focuses on the economic problems and the self-reduction movement of prices on food in Turin in the 1970s.

Hannah says: ‘It’s about two couples, and two women who’ve discovered that the price of food is going up and up. One of them has been to a supermarket and there was a riot and people decided not to pay for stuff.

‘She comes home and her husband is very judgemental, and as the play continues she discovers he’s not in a good position to judge her.’

She adds: ‘It’s got quite a lot of political content but it seems relevant. It’s a very satirical approach to the situation.’

Like most of Italian playwright Dario Fo’s work Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay was written in response to specific political needs and focuses on the problems of the economic crisis and job redundancies.

In 1997 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature and he currently owns and operates a theatre company in Italy.

n Tickets cost £7 to £9 from Titchfield Festival Theatre on 901329) 556156 or go to