As the semester gets started, Todd Theatre kicks off its season with absolute mayhem. Their latest endeavor, Dario Fo’s “Accidental Death of an Anarchist,” is an outrageous political satire that will both confuse and entertain you.

On an underlying level, this play completely thrashes the current U.S. government. The background of this satire is the result of an “accident” that took place in Italy in 1969. A well-known pacifist was accused of bombing a train – I repeat pacifist – and was held in police custody. After four days of questioning, he “fell” out a window. The play bases its criticisms of today’s government off the laughable idea that his death was an accident.

Director Nigel Maister has even taken this activist play one step further by rewriting several of its tirades, updating them with today’s political issues. The actors often intentionally call the “anarchist” a “terrorist,” since there is apparently no difference between them.

The play may sound serious, but a thick coat of hilarious mayhem sweetens its anti-Republican, anti-war, anti-Bush message.

Sure, the play’s main character, The Maniac, played by Jonathan Stulberg, raves about the lack of intelligence in the National Department of Defense, but at the same time, he has a frilly pink piece of women’s lingerie dangling from his chest pocket while speaking in a southern accent.

For another third of the play, Stulberg runs around the stage with an eye patch and a fake leg – his antics will leave you in stitches.

While almost purposefully confusing at times, the beauty of this play is the truth behind the apparent insanity on stage. “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” is probably one of the more eccentric plays out there, but under the madness it wreaks of intelligent criticism of today’s government.

However, word to the wise, come into the theatre with an open mind, and Bush supporters – you might want to steer clear of Todd Theatre entirely, at least until Sunday, when the actors take their final bows. Catch the production of “The Accidental Death of an Anarchist” Thursday through Sunday at 8 p.m., with an additional showing at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Todd Theatre.

Ryan can be reached at

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