23rd January 2017 – Dario Fo

Today in Erica’s lesson, we looked at short play written by Dario Fo (1926 – 2016) who is an Italian playwright. We have looked into Dario Fo previously in Lynn’s lesson as he is famously practices the ancient Italian style of Commedia Dell’Arte.

After looking at a few scenes from ‘The accidental death of an Anarchist’ we were separated into groups. In my group there was Josh, Myself, Lou and James. In our scene, the front desk calls to let the Superintendent know that a journalist has come to see him. He wants to refuse, but the Maniac advises him to let her up as she could cause trouble if angered. The Superintendent assumes the Maniac will leave so the Journalist won’t find out there is a judge investigating the case. The Maniac says he would never abandon his friends in a time of need and decides to change character, becoming Captain Mark Weeny from Forensic. By the time the Journalist arrives, the Maniac has adopted a false moustache, a patch over one eye, and a brown glove. He later indicates that the patch covers a glass eye and the glove, an artificial hand.

The Journalist begins her questioning. She asks the Inspector why he is called the Window-Straddler, reading a letter written by another anarchist stating that, during his interrogation, the Inspector had forced him to sit on the windowsill with his legs dangling outside. She continues the inquisition by noting that the previous inquiry did not include the report on the trajectory taken by the anarchists’s body, which would have established whether or not he was alive when he went through the window. Furthermore, the inquiry also left out the evidence of a tape recording of the time an ambulance was called, which occurred five minutes before the anarchist supposedly jumped. The Superintendent, Inspector, and Maniac all give ridiculous answers – sometimes they call ambulances just in case something happens and this time they were correct; they were thinking ahead; or perhaps the reporters’ or ambulance station’s watches were fast or slow. The Inspector gives the Maniac a slap on the back to commend him for his answer, and the Maniac’s glass eye pops out.

The Journalist is unconvinced and asks about the bruises on the back of the dead man’s neck. The Maniac explains that there has been a version of events floating around that says that a few minutes before midnight, one of the interrogators lost control of himself and gave the anarchist a whack on the neck. The whack half paralysed the anarchist, so they called an ambulance. In the meantime, they opened the window and two policemen leaned the anarchist out, hoping the cold air would revive him. However, they accidentally dropped him, each man thinking the other was holding on. The Journalist says the story would explain a lot, including the reason the prosecutor stated the death should be classified as an “accidental death” rather than a suicide. As they speak, the Inspector slips on the Maniac’s glass eye, and the Constable fetches some water to rinse it off. When he returns, the Maniac takes a drink and accidentally swallows the eye. Also, in the scene, the characters don’t have actual names, they are primarily named after charactersitics, objects of job titles. We cast the parts as follows:

  1. Josh – Sports Jacket
  2. Lou -Superintendent
  3. Daytona – Journalist
  4. James – Certified Maniac

We set the scene up in a meeting setting and had James standing over Lou and Josh to represent them as his puppets as he is playing mind games.



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