This weekend, students in the Southern Miss theatre department will present the political satire “The Accidental Death of an Anarchist” free of charge.
Written by Italian playwright Dario Fo, the play tells an exaggerated version of the real events surrounding the death of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli who died from either a fall or a push. The play is directed by Michelle Taylor, a second year MFA graduate student in directing from Slidell, La.
“One of the messages in the story is about seeking the truth,” Taylor said. “We hear two sides of the same story. One from the police officers and one from the anarchist. The audience gets to decide who they believe is telling the truth.“
Despite its political content, the play takes the form of a farce: highly exaggerated, highly physical and overblown humor.
“Everything you do has to be extremely clear,” Skylar Falgout, sophomore in theatre from Mobile, said. “You really need to have a clear understanding of what you’re saying and how the audience perceives [your character].”
Falgout plays a police chief who may have been involved in having Pinelli pushed out of the window, as opposed to him falling. Also, unlike most plays at USM, the actors are responsible for designing and putting together their own costumes.
“It’s both really cool and a real struggle,” Falgout said. “It really makes you appreciate the costume designers.”
This play is not part of the theatre department’s season, but is a graduate project for Taylor. To audiences this means the play has free admission, but it also means that it doesn’t receive the same support from the department as the other plays in terms of making the set or the costumes.
“While we are not shop supported like the other productions this semester,” Taylor said, “I have had a little help from some other students. But that was part of the consideration in picking this show is that it had a minimal set.”
“It’s much more intimate,” Falgout said. “We all really count on each other.”
Even though it is not a large production, Falgout still sees the benefit of participating in it.
“This is a great situation for me to get to know the department better,” she said. “It’s a really great opportunity.”
Performances will take place in Woods Theatre on Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m.