History of Western Theatre: 17th Century to Now/Italian Post-WWII

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Dario Fo (1926-?) is the most visible representative of end-of-century Italian theatre, featuring such black comedies as "Morte accidentale di un anarchico" (Accidental death of an anarchist, 1970). His comedies are characterized by a mixture of popular and more serious theatre.

Dario Fo amalgamates literary style with popular theatre

"Accidental death of an anarchist"[edit]

"Accidental death of an anarchist". Time: 1970s. Place: Milan, Italy.

A madman is interrogated by Police Commissioner Bertozzo for impersonating a psychiatrist. He explains he has taken on several other roles in the past, calling his condition "histriomania". When Bertozzo leaves his office for a moment, the madman identifies himself over the telephone as the commissioner's colleague the and gives him misleading information about Bertozzo. As a result, the caller comes over to the police station and hits Bertozzo. The madman next takes on the role of a counsellor sent to investigate the suicide of a presumed anarchist by a fall from a window. The false counsellor interrogates a second commissioner and a prefect. He determines that the two men told the anarchist they had proof of his guilt when they had not and that they had lied to the media about the results of the interrogation. He tells them that the ministry of justice and the interior has suspended them. He utters desperate remarks on their situation while pushing them towards the window, then admits that the report is false. He next determines that the two men had untruthfully told the anarchist they had evidence that an acquaintance of his had engaged in other acts of terrorism. To lessen suspicions of guilt, the madman tries to make them admit that they encouraged him to reveal himself by tapping him in a friendly way on the shoulder, by saying anarchy will not die, and by singing left-wing songs. In investigating the actual suicide act, a police officer reveals that to prevent his death from falling he held on to his shoe so that it came off, but the madman points out that on the victim's body both shoes were on. A woman journalist is announced to conduct an interview on this matter. To help out the two men, the madman dons yet another disguise, this time as a colleague of theirs working in the police laboratory. The reporter determines that since no damage was found on the anarchist's hands, he was probably unconscious or dead before his fall. She next determines that the ambulance was suspiciously called before eye-witnesses saw him fall. It seems that the anarchist received a blow on the head after being told that the evidence presented by witnesses of his alibi was inadmissible. Commissioner Bertozzo returns and recognizes the madman disguised as his laboratory officer, but his colleagues try to shut him up. The madman next identifies himself to the reporter as a distinguished bishop sent to investigate the matter. To quiet Bertozzo, he injects him with a sedative. When Bertozzo takes out a revolver to defend himself, the madman tricks him into dropping it and then takes out a tape recorder with all the evidence he needs to expose both men.