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- Fo's most popular play is Mistero buffo, which means "The Comedic Mystery." It features the comedic antics of a jester in the medieval tradition of the "jongleurs," traveling entertainers whose performances flouted the authority of church and state. It has been seen by millions of Italians and shows Fo's grounding in popular storytelling traditions. This one-man show satirizing landowners, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Italian government was first performed by Fo in 1969.
- The Complete Plays of Vladimir Mayakovsky, translated by Guy Daniels, contains Mayakovsky's Mystery-Bouffe (1918), an inspiration for Fo's own Mistero buffo. Mayakovsky, a Russian writer who engaged in subversive socialist political activities, was one of Fo's many influences, thanks to his revolutionary zeal on the part of Russia's then-disenfranchised peasants and lower classes.
- The Uncle Remus tales first published by Joel Chandler Harris in book form in 1880 were told to him by African American storytellers. These are tales employing trickster figures like the Maniac.
- The four plays of Female Parts: One Woman Plays (1981) were written by Fo in collaboration with his longtime partner, Franca Rame. Rame acted in these plays when they were first produced.
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