Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas

Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas_Credit – Tim WilliamsonAn imaginative retelling of early encounters between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, Florida and Mexico, Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas is an epic monologue with a cast of thousands that is packed with action, irreverent humour and frequent reversals of fortune, at fortyfivedownstairs until 15 February.

Inspired by historical figures including Cabeza de Vaca and Guerriero, Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas was written by Dario Fo in 1992 as an alternative to the official commemorations of Columbus’ voyage of 1492. A fugitive from the Inquisition, Johan Padan performs fantastical feats of surgery, prophecy and love after travelling with Columbus to the New World.

Director Wayne Pearn explains that Johan Padan’s story emphasises what Dario Fo does so brilliantly by bringing together political and comic theatre in such an effortless yet potent manner, “The script is perfectly accompanied by Steve Gome’s superb physicality and vivid performance. Fo is the master of subversive theatre and this is one of his best.”

Playing Johan Padan is a delight for Steve Gome, “He has such an energetic, passionate and cheeky spirit. For me, it’s not so much a question of finding the character as keeping up with him.”

Dario Fo is an Italian actor-playwright, comedian, singer, theatre director, stage designer, songwriter and political campaigner, and recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include: Accidental Death of an Anarchist; Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!;  Francis The Holy Jester; Letter from China; Mistero Buffo; The People’s War in Chile; and Trumpets and Raspberries.

Much of his dramatic work depends on improvisation and comprises the recovery of “illegitimate” forms of theatre, such as those performed by giullari (medieval strolling players) and, more famously, the ancient Italian style of commedia dell’arte.

Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas is a fantastical adventure told by a loveable rogue. In a world where riding your luck might be the death of you, riding a pig could save your life.

Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season 4 – 15 February 2015
Bookings: (03) 9662 9966 or

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Steve Gome – photo by Tim Williamson