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Accidental Death of an Anarchist


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A: Dario Fo Pf: 1970, Milan Pb: 1970; rev. 1974 Tr: 1980 G: Satire in 2 acts; Italian prose S: Police headquarters, Milan, Jan. 1970 C: 5m, 1fInspector Bertozzo of the Milan police is interviewing the Maniac (or Fool), arrested for fraudulently claiming to be a psychiatrist. Left alone, the Maniac receives a phone call from Inspector Pissani who has just heard that an examining magistrate is coming to investigate the suspicious death of an anarchist, who ‘fell’ from a fourth-floor window in the building after being arrested for allegedly planting a bomb. The Maniac disguises himself as the magistrate and begins interrogating Pissani and his Superintendent, showing the absurdity of the official claim that the anarchist committed suicide. As the police argue amongst themselves about their contradictory evidence, the arrival of Maria Feletti, a journalist, is announced, and the Maniac is asked to pretend to be a forensic expert. Bertozzo arrives carrying a replica bomb and attempts to expose the Maniac, while the other police try to shut him up. The Maniac has recorded the police confessions on a hidden recorder and offers the evidence to Feletti. He handcuffs the police and sets the bomb to go off. Handing the handcuff keys to Feletti, the Maniac escapes, leaving her to decide whether to release the police. In one version, they are blown up. In another, she releases them and they handcuff her so that she will be killed.

A: Dario Fo Pf: 1970, Milan Pb: 1970; rev. 1974 Tr: 1980 G: Satire in 2 acts; Italian prose S: Police headquarters, Milan, Jan. 1970 C: 5m, 1f

The play is based on the suspicious death in police custody of Giuseppe Pinelli, an ineffectual anarchist, in December 1969. He had been arrested for allegedly planting a bomb, later shown to be the work of neo-Fascists. Fo uses farce, owing an obvious debt to The Government Inspector, documentary material, and frequent updating to contemporary events, to expose the police cover-up and to show the links between the authorities and right-wing extremists in so-called democracies.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Authors

Dario Fo (b. 1926) Italian dramatist


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