The urge to find a scapegoat, the eagerness to condemn and the necessity to cover up one's own faults is centerstage at the Ship Oil Production of the Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Nobel laureate and Italian playwright Dario Fo.
Fo portrays the individual as a pawn in a bigger context, a context he cannot control or even influence. If the powers that be (corrupt government officials who'd do anything to remain powerful) decide on an individual to bear the burden of guilt -- so be it. Yes, it's Kafkaesque, but also knee-slappingly funny.
"I just find it absolutely hysterical," says director Tara Tovarek, who adds that the difficult, controversial subjects with which Fo deals are made more accessible by the ever-present comic relief.
In Accidental Death -- based on real-life events that took place in Milan in the late '60s when police were desperately trying to nail someone for several bombings that had ripped through the city -- the only escape for one of the accused is out the window of the interrogation room, death awaiting below.
"The message, as Fo blatantly prints, is that 'scandal is the fertilizer of Western democracy.'says Tovarek.
Fo's political satire has not gone down well with everyone. Among his harshest critics are the Catholic Church in general and the Vatican in particular, favorite targets for Fo's biting tongue.