University of Rochester

EVENT: "Guantanamo Bay Meets the Marx Brothers" in Comic Masterpiece

September 22, 2005

A contemporary adaptation of Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo's political satire Accidental Death of an Anarchist kicks off the 16th season of the International Theatre Program at the University of Rochester. The piece, a witty and biting commentary on the current state of government and political life, opens at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, and runs at 8 p.m. Oct. 13 through 15 and Oct. 19 through 22, with matinees at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16, and Saturday, Oct. 22, in Todd Theater on the University's River Campus.

Fo, who famously—and controversially—won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1997, has a distinguished career as a political satirist, jester, and performer. As a writer and performer, Fo draws on the Italian theatrical traditions of the buffoonish giullare and improvisational commedia dell'arte. His work Accidental Death of an Anarchist has been translated into more than 30 languages and performed worldwide. In 1984, it was produced on Broadway with Jonathan Pryce, Bill Irwin, and Patti LuPone.

The original work tackled the prickly issues of police corruption and governmental deception in 1970s Italy. The International Theatre Program's production, adapted by Artistic Director Nigel Maister, preserves the spirit of the original, but re-imagines the work in a post 9-11 world, touching on contemporary political controversies from Abu Ghraib to Hurricane Katrina. The play follows the antics of a self-proclaimed lunatic as he examines the doublespeak of politicians who were involved in the "accidental death" of an "anarchist." The production follows in the footsteps of many other Theatre Program productions of pushing the theatrical envelope by freshly interpreting classic stage works.

The Accidental Death of an Anarchist design team includes Obie Award-winning costume designer Kimberly Glennon, the current resident designer of the acclaimed Classical Theater of Harlem; lighting designer Aaron Black, a consistent contributor to the University's International Theater Program; and sound designer and composer Obadiah Eaves, a National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group design fellow and 2005 winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway in sound design.

Tickets for Accidental Death of an Anarchist are $10 for the general public, $6 for University of Rochester students, and $8 for senior citizens and University of Rochester faculty and staff. They can be reserved online at or by calling the Box Office at (585) 275-4088. Tickets can also be purchased at the door one hour prior to the performance.