Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Dario Fo's 1970 political lampoon is based on a prior incident in which the suspect in a bank bombing either jumped/fell/was pushed to his death at police headquarters. For Fo, a committed leftist, the case provided a perfect opportunity to assail government corruption and lies. Thirty-five years later, when Strawberry Theatre Workshop first tackled this show, you could see the parallels: Americans began to question the evidence behind our invasion of Iraq, learned about torture in Abu Ghraib, and bristled at Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld rationalizations. So why restage Anarchist now, after a seven-year gap? In its manifesto, Strawshop alludes to Occupy Wall Street and the federal investigation into our police department's excessive use of force. And in fact, Fo has always encouraged such topical embellishments and ad-libs to Anarchist's script (for which reason it's his best-known play, often revived to critique political regimes). Again directed by Gabriel Baron, this terrific production reminds us that we can never run out of reasons to be skeptical of authority. And in addition to the police, its list of targets is here expanded to banks, Mubarak-like despots, and the corporate ownership of the Internet. Lithe, crazed-looking Ryan Higgins' main character, "The Maniac," poses as a handful of lofty personages to "investigate" the suspect's jump/fall/push. Around him at the police station are some of Seattle's best clowns, including Jason Harber, Tim Hyland, and Galen Joseph Osier. The late-breaking entrance of Rhonda J. Soikowski as the journalist Feletti forces a final reorganization of the material into two possible endings—they're different, but equally macabre. MARGARET FRIEDMAN

Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: July 5. Continues through Aug. 4, 2012

 
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