of an Anarchist
Written by Dario Fo
When amusing becomes annoying
|Oracle Productions presents|
|Accidental Death of an Anarchist|
Review by Katy Walsh
Oracle Theatre presents Accidental Death of an Anarchist. A man was killed falling or being pushed out of a fourth floor window. The situation is even more dramatic knowing that it was the fourth floor of a police station in Milan. And the window was in the interrogation room. Down below, The Maniac has been arrested for impersonating… again. He blames HD: Histrionic Dementia. He is an obsessive compulsive actor. When he intercepts a call about the Anarchist’s death by window, The Maniac assumes the role of an investigating judge. He makes the police reenact the events leading up to the deadly conclusion. Accidental Death of an Anarchist is an unsolved crime.
Playwright Dario Fo wrote this play as an Italian farce. It was translated into English by Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante. It’s a satire on political corruption. Director Ben Fuchsen makes a bold choice to exploit the humor. His actors become over-the-top stereotypes. The buffoonery starts out amusing but can’t sustain the momentum and becomes annoying. In the lead, a wide-eyed Holly Cerney (The Maniac) is pure animated lunatic. Initially, Cerney captivates in a wacky performance as an actor pretending to be an actor pretending to be a judge. After awhile, especially during the reenactment, the shtick gets old but continues to repeat and repeat. It feels like a never-ending SNL skit. At some points, it seems like the cast is improv-ing to get a laugh, making the show to come off unrehearsed and unfunny. The intermission ends with a bizarro karaoke bit. And I can’t help but wonder WTF?
Oracle Theatre is one of my favorite theatres in town. I love their mission of making theatre accessible to the public. I love that they take their shows into nursing homes. And I usually love all their artistic choices. I didn’t love this. I didn’t even like it. Accidental Death of an Anarchist is no accident. It’s a tragedy.
Accidental Death of an Anarchist continues through March 2nd at Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway (map), with performances Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8pm, Sundays 7pm. Admission is free, and reservations (which are strongly recommended) can be made here. More info at PublicAccessTheatre.org. (Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes, no intermission)
Photos by Liz Sutherland
Holly Cerney (The Maniac); Rory Jobst* (Officer 1, Officer 2); Michael Menendez (Inspector Bertozzo); Brian Hurst (Inspector Pissani); Victoria Gilbert (The Commissioner); Anya Clingman (Feletti the Reporter)
behind the scenes
Ben Fuchsen* (director); Joan Pritchard* (costumes); Eleanor Kahn (set); Elizabeth Sutherland (lighting, photos); Adam Penly (composer, sound design); Evelyn DeHais (graphics); Kasey Foster (intermission choreography); Laura K. Smith* (asst. director); Allison Goetzman (stage manager); Kathleen Dickinson (production manager); Tony Santiago (producer); Max Truax* (artistic director)
* denotes Oracle Company Member