Preview: Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Preview: Accidental Death of an Anarchist
Andrew J. Petschek, Jennifer R. Rolfes, and Ariel R. Walzer

October 28-30, November 3-5, 8 p.m.

Loeb Mainstage

Directed by Stephen C. Squibb

Produced by Bryce J. Gilfillian '12

In 1969, the Italian anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli fell out of a police station’s fourth floor window, triggering much debate as to whether or not the fall was an accident or a crime. The scandal—dubbed the Italian Pizza Fontana bombing of 1969—provided the basis for Nobel laureate Dario Fo’s 1970 political farce “Accidental Death of an Anarchist,” which will be produced by the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC) at the end of October. The dark comedy, headed by visiting director Stephen C. Squibb, is distinguished by its unconventional treatment: the original script was heavily altered during the course of production.

For Squibb, who has collaborated with installation artists and an avant-garde group called the Woodshed Collective, these alterations were in part necessary because of the obscure nature of Fo’s original text, full of references to Italian politics and leftist movements at the beginning of the 1970s.

“Politics is like football,” Squibb said. “People invest in it so heavily that they develop their own language.”

As a result, heavy revisions of the script bring out the play’s dark humor for modern audiences without the original text hindering their understanding. Cast member Isabel Q. Carey ’12, who plays the lead role of The Maniac, said that Squibb assembled a draft out of pieces from different translations of Fo’s Italian text. According to producer Bryce J. Gilfillian ’12, this compilation is not a strict departure from previous incarnations of the play.

“Dario Fo himself would rewrite the script for every production, so this Frankensteinian adaptation is in the spirit of what he usually did,” Gilfillian said.

HRDC’s production also features a set designed by J. Michael Griggs, Technical Director for the Loeb Drama Center. The production team developed ideas for both the set and the script; together, Griggs and Squibb decided that the play will be performed in the round.

“I don’t like to repeat myself,” Griggs said. “so I was hoping to find a different way to use the space.”

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