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USC students perform Dario Fo's Anarchist play
The best way to find out how good something is, is to go and see it for yourself. I saw the Performing Arts Kollective's Accidental Death of An Anarchist by Dario Fo at the University Club at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Sippy Downs on Sunday, March 9. So what made this play a hit?
Accidental Death of an Anarchist was made up of an incredibly talented cast of University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) students from all different disciplines and walks of life. The crazy antics of the Maniac, Tara Bryan; the forceful presence of the [ADVERT]Superintendent, Marina de Jäger and subtly evil yet secretive Sports-Jacket, Adam Kronk; the justice seeking and expository nature of Bertozzo, Riete de Jäger; the sexy yet truth-seeking Journalist, Melany Brock; and on-the-money mime techniques from the hilarious Constable, Mark Turner; together made Accidental Death of an Anarchist a truly memorable performance.
Performer and Marketing Coordinator Mark Turner tells us a bit about the production.
"Dark, funny, timeless and universal… the Performing Arts Kollective in Association with the University of the Sunshine Coast Guild presents Dario Fo's absurdist masterpiece Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the University Club," says Mark.
It is 1969: Milan, Italy. An anarchist, under interrogation, jumps (or is thrown), from the fourth floor of a police station. An insidious cover-up follows. Furious protesters rally in the streets. Ravenous press hounds batter down the doors. Enter an eccentric Maniac, Tara Bryan, under arrest for a series of high-profile impersonations.
In a hilarious melee of zany slapstick, boggling word play, confusing disguises and more than one 'raptus', the police case falls to pieces. But here's the clincher - this wild farce is based on real events. In 1969, a left-wing anarchist, Giuseppe Pinelli, was indeed arrested for bombing a bank and a train station in Milan. These attacks were later found to have been the work of the secret police and neo-fascist forces, supported by the highest levels of the Italian government.
What the members of PAK says is an 'infectious, fun and fast-paced' comedy was to me, just that. The intimate setting made you feel as though you were actually there and the performances from the cast were spectacular. In fact, it has been the most hauntingly captivating performance of slapstick humour and intense imagery I have ever seen.
The pre-show Milan Street Festival was just as incredible as the show. There was a Wild West mime scene, mind blowing Italian songs sung by a a talented young USC student and a sexy burlesque-style dance fronted by Melany Brock who played The Journalist.
The performance is one that has you talking (and laughing!) long after the show is over. There is no doubt in my mind I will be remembering PAK's Accidental Death of an Anarchist for years to come.
4. The Director: Peta Beattie
Peta Beattie (left) with Karen Crone at a BYTE event.
At the helm of this production is award-winning local playwright and director Peta Beattie, who has been involved professionally with the theatrical development of young Sunshine Coast students at BYTE and at various schools.
Peta played the Maniac in a 90's production of the play.
"This is a play that has captivated audiences since its first controversial production in the late 70's and still retains its power and relevance today," Peta said. "I encourage people with a passion for social justice, those who are tired of the vulnerable in society being used by those who wield the power to come and see this powerful play."
5. Public Support
PAK hopes to encourage support from the general public for their company and their productions which aim to inspire and above all entertain. They need the support of the public to continue to fund future projects of quality and diversity.
PAK says collectively the play is something that is relevant to everyone.
"Accidental Death of an Anarchist is an infectious, fun, raucous and fast-paced comedy, yet at times also a harrowing and a haunting experience and in the intimate location the audience will truly feel as though they are actually there," PAK says.
PAK also say they have a variety of pre-performance entertainment:
"Italian themed entertainment (rhythmic gymnastics, clowning, acrobatics, street theatre, classical and contemporary song and dance) and food stalls will be available to enjoy before the play even begins in a mini Milan Street Festival staged outside the University Club."
Accidental Death of an Anarchist is a true showcase of local creative talent.
"With a bold production design, this show launches audiences into a striking and frenzied world where the absurd and taunting psychological games of the Maniac are set against the desperate atmosphere of the police station and the corrupt cops. This play PAKs a proverbial punch and is not to be missed!"