Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Accidental Death of an Anarchist
Accidental Death of an Anarchist  
Cover of the 2004 edition of
Morte accidentale di un anarchico
Author(s) Dario Fo
Country Italy
Language Italian
Publisher Einaudi, Turin
Publication date 10 December 1970
Media type Print
Pages 89

Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Italian title: Morte accidentale di un anarchico) is perhaps the best-known play by the Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo.


About the play

The play is a farce based on events involving a real person, Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell - or was thrown - from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. He was accused of bombing a bank (the Piazza Fontana bombing).

The events of the play itself, however, are fictional. The play opens with Inspector Bertozzo interrogating The Maniac, a histrionic character, on the first floor of the police station. The Maniac, however, constantly outsmarts the dim-witted Bertozzo and, when Bertozzo leaves the room, intercepts a phone call from Inspector Pissani. The phone call lets the Maniac know that a judge is due at the police station to investigate the interrogation and death of the anarchist. The Maniac decides to impersonate the judge, and successfully does so. He gets the police to re-enact the events, in the actual fourth floor room, and also involves a woman journalist who is trying to probe the events.

Major productions

  • Accidental Death of an Anarchist was first staged by Dario Fo on December 5, 1970 in Varese, Italy.This production toured Italy playing to audiences totaling more than a million by theatre group, Collettivo Teatrale La Comune.
  • An English translation was published by Suzanne Cowan in Theater Magazine in 1979, and led to subsequent productions in Minneapolis in 1982.
  • In 1980, the play was staged in Britain at the Wyndham's Theatre in London. It had a highly successful run in the heart of London's theatreland, from 5 March 1980 to 24 October 1981. The production was nominated for a highly prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.
  • In 1983, British television adaptation, which mixed the original Italian setting with contemporary references to Thatcher's Britain aired on Channel 4,.[1] Starring Gavin Richards as Maniac, directed by Alan Horrox and Gavin Richards.
  • On February 9, 1984, a stage adaptation by Richard Nelson, directed by Doug Wager, opening at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.. The show made it to Broadway starring Jonathan Pryce and Patti LuPone in 1984, but closed after 20 performances and 15 previews.
  • In January, 1987 " Accidental Death of an Anarchist" was adapted to Sinhala. The play was performed in Sri Lanka and it was adapted and directed by Vijitha Gunaratne for the Movement for releasing political prisoners. The play was titled " Saakki" , starring Gamini Hatthotuwegama as Maniac.
  • In May, 1997, the play was performed in India, by director Arvind Gaur for Asmita Theatre, Delhi. Adaptation in Hindi as Operation Three Star by Amitabh Srivastava of National School of Drama, starring Piyush Mishra as Maniac.[2]
  • In 1998, a Chinese language adaptation was brought to Beijing by China's most influential stage director, Meng Jinghui.[3]
  • In 2003, a new translation by Simon Nye was performed at the Donmar Warehouse theatre, London, starring Rhys Ifans Directed by Robert Delamere.[4]
  • In 2005, a new version preserving the original Italian setting was directed by Luca Giberti at the Oxford Playhouse theatre, Oxford, UK, with Brian Stewart playing the Maniac.[5][6]
  • In 2008, the play was adapted in Urdu and performed by 'DRAMALINE', the dramatic society of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The 5 day production took place at Al-Hamra Hall in Lahore and attracted a great audience. The play was titled 'Marta Kya Na Karta'.
  • The play was performed in a new English translation and contemporary updating in the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, by the Northern Broadsides company, in November 2008.
  • Swatantra Theatre's an adaptation of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, delves into the murky side of the police force


  • In 2009 the Sydney Theatre Company performed this play.[8]
  • In 2011 the play was performed by The Lahore Grammar School (Pakistan), changing the background events to the Sialkot Killings.
  • Also in 2011 it was performed at HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) but the bombing had been changed from a bank to a train station in Zimbabwe, and other parts had been changed slightly as well to suit a Zimbabwean audience.

See also


External links

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