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. The maniac flaunts with their pride and guilt, causing mass confusion. The audience cannot help but love his crazy ways. In true satiric fasion, just and darkly comedic rewards are served to all characters by the end. The audience is left wondering how these events effect them. The ever present window in the scene is the only realistic element that the audience must contend with. It reminds them of the reality of the crime, how it really took place, and yet they are forced to laugh at it and find disgust in that humor. It is this form of satire that provokes thoughts and action towards change, which is what Fo wanted. It is this subtle stealthiness of dark humor that creates the desired effect of political theatre: change, perhaps for the better, or in this case, for the playwrights cause.