Accidental death of an anarchist characters
Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario FoIn its first two years of production, Dario Fos controversial farce, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, was seen by over half a million people. It has since been performed all over the world and is widely recognised as a classic of modern drama. A sharp and hilarious satire on political corruption, it concerns the case of an anarchist railway worker who, in 1969, fell to his death from a police headquarters window.
This version of the play was premiered in London in 2003.
Commentary and notes by Joseph Farrell.
Accidental death of an anarchist
Questions for further study.
Accidental Death of an Anarchist Character List
Dario Fo 's Accidental Death of an Anarchist responds to events unfolding in Italy in the late s and early s. Generally, it looks at police corruption and suspicions regarding the government's collusion in this corruption. More specifically, it addresses the actual death of an anarchist who was being held in police custody following the bombing of a Milan bank that killed sixteen people and wounded about ninety. The police asserted that the anarchist's death was a suicide, that the man threw himself from a fourth-floor window in despair at being found out for his crime. At the subsequent inquest, the presiding judge declared the death not a suicide but an accident. Most Italians believed that the death was the result of overly harsh interrogation techniques, if not a case of outright murder on the part of the interrogators.
Of the three upper-echelon police characters appearing in Accidental Death of an Anarchist , Inspector Bertozzo spends the least amount of time on stage. He has a role at the play's beginning, as the policeman interviewing the Maniac for impersonating a psychiatrist. He sees that the Maniac has been arrested many times for impersonation and does not believe the Maniac's claim that he is mad and therefore not responsible for his actions. He seems intent on finding a way to make a charge against the Maniac stick. However, after enduring enough of the Maniac's double-talk, he becomes utterly exasperated and tells him to leave the station. In act 2, Inspector Bertozzo returns as an important element in the play's closing farce. He knows that the Maniac is not the forensics expert that he is pretending to be and wants to expose him to the Superintendent and Sports Jacket.
Considered a classic of 20th-century theater, it has been performed across the world in more than forty countries. The play opens with Inspector Francesco Bertozzo interrogating a clever, quick-witted and mischievous fraudster, simply known as the Maniac, in Bertozzo's office on the third floor of the police headquarters in Milan. The Maniac constantly outsmarts the dim-witted Bertozzo and, when Bertozzo leaves the room, intercepts a phone call from Inspector Pissani. Pissani reveals to the Maniac that a judge is due at the police station to investigate the interrogation and "accidental" death of the anarchist, whilst the Maniac pretends to be a colleague of Bertozzo's and telling Pissani that Bertozzo is "blowing a raspberry" at him. The Maniac decides to impersonate the judge, Marco Malipiero, an opportunity he's been waiting awhile for, and to humiliate the policemen responsible for the "accidental" death. After Bertozzo reenters his office, the Maniac is forced out of the office, taking Bertozzo's coat and hat to use in his disguise. Bertozzo chases him, running into Pissani, who punches him in retaliation for "blowing a raspberry" at him.