Accidental Death of an Anarchist
|Accidental Death of an Anarchist|
|Written by||Dario Fo|
|Date premiered||5 December 1970|
|Accidental Death of an Anarchist|
Cover of the 2004 edition of
Morte accidentale di un anarchico
|Publication date||10 December 1970|
Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Italian title: Morte accidentale di un anarchico) is the most internationally recognised play by Dario Fo, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. Considered a classic of twentieth-century theatre, it has been performed across the world in more than 40 countries, including Argentina, Chile, the United Kingdom, India, Romania, South Africa and South Korea.
The play is a farce based on events involving a real person, Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell - or was thrown - from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. He was accused of bombing a bank (the Piazza Fontana bombing) but then has been cleared of the charge.
The events of the play itself, however, are fictional. The play opens with Inspector Bertozzo interrogating The Maniac, a histrionic character, on the first floor of the police station. The Maniac, however, constantly outsmarts the dim-witted Bertozzo and, when Bertozzo leaves the room, intercepts a phone call from Inspector Pissani. The phone call lets the Maniac know that a judge is due at the police station to investigate the interrogation and death of the anarchist. The Maniac decides to impersonate the judge, and successfully does so. He gets the police to re-enact the events, in the actual fourth floor room, and also involves a woman journalist who is trying to probe the events. The play ends with two alternative endings, one with Feletti (journalist) leaving the four policemen to be bombed and in the second, Feletti uncuffs the men who in turn handcuff her to the window frame leaving her to die. The Maniac then leaves the audience to decide what ending is best.
Cambridge graduate Mark Blanco, who was cast in the lead of Accidental Death of an Anarchist, died in "unexplained" circumstances himself in December 2006 just as the production was about to open. Blanco fell to the ground from a balcony in Whitechapel, East London. His family said: "We absolutely do not believe that Mark committed suicide, or that his death was a simple accident."
List of major productions
- Accidental Death of an Anarchist was first staged by Dario Fo on 5 December 1970 in Varese, Italy. This production toured Italy playing to audiences totaling more than a million by theatre group, Collettivo Teatrale La Comune.
- An English translation was published by Suzanne Cowan in Theater Magazine in 1979, and led to subsequent productions in Minneapolis in 1982.
- In 1980, the play was staged in Britain at the Wyndham's Theatre in London. It had a highly successful run in the heart of London's theatreland, from 5 March 1980 to 24 October 1981. The production was nominated for a highly prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.
- A 1983 British television adaptation, which mixed the original Italian setting with contemporary references to Thatcher's Britain aired on Channel 4. Starring Gavin Richards as Maniac, directed by Alan Horrox and Gavin Richards.
- On 9 February 1984, a stage adaptation by Richard Nelson, directed by Doug Wager, opening at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.. The show made it to Broadway starring Jonathan Pryce and Patti LuPone in 1984, but closed after 20 performances and 15 previews.
- In January 1987, Accidental Death of an Anarchist was adapted to Sinhala. The play was performed in Sri Lanka and it was adapted and directed by Vijitha Gunaratne for the Movement for releasing political prisoners. The play was titled Saakki, starring Gamini Hatthotuwegama as Maniac.
- In 1992, an adaptation of the play by Jeremy Hardy was broadcast on BBC Radio. It starred Adrian Edmondson as the Maniac and Jennifer Saunders as Feleti, and Jill Gascoigne, John Forgeham, Stephen Frost and Mark Steel as police officers.
- In May, 1997, the play was performed in India, by director Arvind Gaur for Asmita Theatre, Delhi. Adaptation in Hindi as Operation Three Star by Amitabh Srivastava of National School of Drama, starring Piyush Mishra as Maniac.
- In 1998, a Chinese language adaptation was brought to Beijing by China's most influential stage director, Meng Jinghui.
- In 2001, the play was performed by Magic Lantern theatre group, Chennai, India, directed by Rajiv Krishnan/Pashupathi. The play was adapted to Indian system but performed in English, starring Hans Kaushik as Maniac, Paul Mathew as the Police Commissioner, Asim Sharma as the Superintendent, and Sriya Chari as the Journalist.
- In 2003, a new translation by Simon Nye was performed at the Donmar Warehouse theatre, London, starring Rhys Ifans. Directed by Robert Delamere.
- In 2005, a new version preserving the original Italian setting was directed by Luca Giberti at the Oxford Playhouse theatre, Oxford, UK, with Brian Stewart playing the Maniac.
- In 2008, the play was adapted in Urdu and performed by 'DRAMALINE', the dramatic society of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The five-day production took place at Al-Hamra Hall in Lahore and attracted a great audience. The play was titled Marta Kya Na Karta.
- The play was performed in a new English translation and contemporary updating in the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, by the Northern Broadsides company, in November 2008.
- Swatantra Theatre's an adaptation of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, delves into the murky side of the police force.
- In 2009, the Sydney Theatre Company performed the play.
- In 2011, the play was adapted, reworked and directed by Muhammad Yahya Cheema, and was performed by JT Illusionists, the society of performing arts at Lahore Grammar School Johar Town, Lahore, (Pakistan). The background events were changed to the Sialkot Killings, and the milieu was changed to Pakistani locale. The play was first performed in the Little Children's Arts Festival Lahore at the Ali Auditorium. Later, it was performed in Lahore Grammar School's own auditorium.
- Also in 2011 it was performed at HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) but the bombing had been changed from a bank to a train station in Zimbabwe, and other parts had been changed slightly as well to suit a Zimbabwean audience.
- In 2012, it was performed as a rock musical in Romania by Deva Art Theatre.
- In 2012, Fullhouse Productions performed the play at The Meteor in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Ed Emery has carried out an authorised English translation.
- Mitchell, Tony (1999), Dario Fo: People's Court Jester (Updated and Expanded), London: Methuen, ISBN 0-413-73320-3.
- Mitchell 1999, p. 101
- Mitchell 1999, pp. 121–122
- Barkham, Patrick (9 December 2006). "Family adamant 'Dario Fo death' was not accidental". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
- IMDB entry for 1983 broadcast
- Kazmi, Nikhat. "Dario Fo's adaptation operation three star". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- O'Grady, Jane. "Accidental Death of an Anarchist". Online Review London. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Review on DailyInfo
- Review on BBC website
- "Nothing accidental about it". Pune Mirror. 16 May 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- "Accidental Death Of An Anarchist". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- Fo, Dario. Accidental Death of an Anarchist, trans. Ed Emery, in Dario Fo: Plays One, Methuen Books, London, 1988.
- TV Cream on the 1983 Channel Four production of the play
- Full Text of Act 1 Scene 1 from WebArchive
- Full Text of Act 1 Scene 2 from WebArchive
- Full Text of Act 2 from WebArchive
- Another translation of the full play