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Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Dario Fo , Gavin Richards , Stuart Hood , Gillian Hanna , Simon Nye
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 8.02 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

12 Mar 1987 Modern Classics
In its first two years of production in Italy, Dario Fo's notorious Accidental Death of an Anarchist was seen by over half a million people. It has since been performed all over the world, and become a classic of twentieth-century drama. A sharp and hilarious satire on police corruption, it concerns the case of an anarchist railway worker who, in 1969, 'fell' to his death from a police headquarters window. 'I ought to warn you that the author of this sick little play, Dario Fo, has the traditional, irrational hatred of the police common to all narrowminded left-wingers and so I shall, no doubt, be the unwilling butt of endless anti-authoritarian jibes.' (Inspector Bertozzo, Central Italian Police HQ) 'A marvellous concept: a zany political farce.' (Michael Billington) This edition has been adapted by Gavin Richards from Gillian Hanna's translation and features an introduction by Stuart Hood and a preface by Dario Fo.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Drama; New edition edition (12 Mar 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413156109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413156105
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"I ought to warn you that the author of this sick little play, Dario Fo, has the traditional, irrational hatred of the police common to all narrowminded left-wingers and so I shall, no doubt, be the unwilling butt of endless anti-authoritarian jibes."--Inspector Bertozzo, Central Italian Police HQ"A marvellous concept: a zany political farce."--Michael Billington

About the Author

A popular and controversial playwright, actor and director, Dario Fo has earned international acclaim for his political satires and farces, and has led the field in political satire in Europe for over thirty years. His best known plays include Accidental Death of an Anarchist, We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, and Orgasmo Adulto Escapes from the Zoo. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997 for "emulating the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent play worth doing well. 27 July 2004
Format:Paperback
I truly enjoyed this play and again am wondering why it is not put on more often. Granted, it has a specific political objective, due to its timely plot and circumstancial event. Yet, as a performer, I find the quality of writing to be extremely wonderful. Interestingly, I also discovered that Fo's viewpoint on comedic and political theatre to be very similar to my own:
(It) grabs at the heart and guts, but attempts to get there by a violent moment of laughter. Because laughter does not remain at the bottom of the mind, leaving sediment which cannot be wiped off. Because laughter helps avoid one of the worst dangers, which is catharsis. (5)
Fo wanted the reverse of catharsis, the emotional release, and it is very apparent in Accidental Death of an Anarchist. He seeks to provoke, debate, to arouse feelings and to challenge ideas while inviting his audience to consider new points of view. I respect this form of theatre, for it is the hardest to write, collaborate, and present clearly to an already cynical audience in this day and age. By using an absurdist/satirical/farcial approach towards the issues of power, its abuse, and political stations, he creates sense out of nonsensical characters and situations. The maniac, a harliquien like character, leads the members of a police station somewhere in a city, in this case we assume New York or London, through a dizzying investigation around the questionable death of an anarchist from years before. Mysteriously, the anarchist had "thrown" himself from a four story window during the course of police investigation. We, the audience suspect foul play for the cause, and in effect we see the maniac give nothing but insane play to the accused. He is quick witted and incredibly dynamic with language and vast information.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Although I preferred "We Can't Pay, we Won't Pay" this was great late seventies political theatre. Saw two versions of it. One in London, brilliant and a mediocre version in Auckland, New Zealand. Anarchist to the core, it was a Gatling gun of absurd dialogue, high octane slap-stick farce and a serious, underlying political message. At the heart of the play is the unexplained death of a railway worker helping Italian police "with their enquiries". Set in Italy, at a time of Red Brigade and a more defined political landscape. We thought it could never happen here (England). Enter stage left one Margaret Thatcher. Oh dear. As a play, it is better seen than read and I pick, more relevant in Italian than English. But a modern classic? It certainly is. Now, I am sure there was a man with a parrot on his shoulder somewhere in the production I saw.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure genius 16 Feb 2008
By MYB74
Format:Paperback
Comic mayhem, with the protagonist's point reasoned to pure genius. The hero of this play runs verbal circles around everyone in his path.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great play 22 Nov 2009
Format:Paperback
I first saw this play 20-some years ago as a drama student. It is still as funny & subversive in the noughties as it was in the eighties!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not bad. 20 Jan 2014
By Alice
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Had to order this for a college project, didn't really enjoy the play as it's not my cup of tea but hey, least I got a grade. Looking into Fo he's a good writer and the seller service was great, arrived quickly and un damaged.
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