by BWW News Desk Jan. 29, 2019

The Actors’ Gang Theater presents an exhibition featuring the artworks of Ralph Steadman and Dario Fo, to accompany the run of ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST, which will open this Saturday, February 2nd and will continue until March 9th. Written by Italian playwright and Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo, translated by Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante and directed by Will Thomas McFadden, the play began its run on Thursday, January 24th.

The exhibit will be open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays starting 7 pm and Sundays, February 17th, 24th and March 3rd, starting 1 pm, January 24th through March 9th.

The exhibition will feature 6 Dario Fo artworks, including one original painting Fo did inspired by an Actors’ Gang production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Tim Robbins.

“I was honored that Dario became a friend, supporter and mentor to me and The Actors’ Gang. It was our great joy to perform our production of ‘A Midsummer Nights’ Dream’ for Dario in Milan a few years ago, and it gave me chills to see him leap to his feet at the end of the performance, to lead the audience in a standing ovation. The next day, a package arrived, as we were rehearsing for the following performance; it was a painting he had made that was inspired by the show and a beautiful letter that gave voice and legitimacy to the work we have been doing in the theater for the last three decades. Ever since, his letter has been displayed in our theater’s lobby, for everyone to see, like an award we value beyond words” said Tim Robbins, the Artistic Director of The Actors’ Gang.

The exhibition also features 7 original and signed prints by Ralph Steadman, a longtime supporter of The Actors’ Gang Theater and the artist behind ‘Accidental Death of Anarchist’s artwork.

“There is no art more representative of the anarchic spirit of The Actors’ Gang than the art of Ralph Steadman. In fact, when we were developing the poster for our first production of ‘Ubu, the King’, in 1982, I asked the artist (David Silverman) to draw in the spirit of Steadman. Over the years, we have continued to be influenced and inspired by Ralph’s fearless and uncompromising view of the world. From time to time I have asked Ralph for the permission to use images of his for our productions but I have never had the courage to ask him to do a piece of original art for an Actors’ Gang show. This felt like the right magic, the marriage of Ralph Steadman and Dario Fo that was long past due. Their style and approach to art and content and their unbridled courage as artists is very similar. Having known them both, I am confident that they would have had a grand old time together. It’s a shame it never happened in person. But the image Ralph Steadman has created perfectly captures the spirit of Dario Fo‘s play, both in its hard edged humor and its outrage at the injustice and corruption of fascist states” continued Robbins.

“I was interested to see what a poster would look like with a falling body on it and Tim, being a friend, I did not want to let him down. The connection is there and it means so much” said Ralph Steadman.

“Ralph Steadman has long been a good friend to The Actors’ Gang and has been quite generous sharing his work with us. We are grateful, humbled and honored to exhibit both originals and signed prints of Steadman’s collection alongside original artworks and prints from Dario Fo, who, along with his Nobel prize-winning writing, was a well-known visual artist and painter. The Steadman-Fo exhibit is the perfect opening act of Accidental Death on an Anarchist” said Robbins.

In “Accidental Death of an Anarchist”, a madman invades a police station interrogation room where an anarchist accused of bombing a bank has recently “accidentally” fallen out of a window. Donning various disguises and voices, the madman manipulates policemen into a truth-inducing hysteria. This world-renowned farce is produced in honor of one of group’s inspirations and mentors, Dario Fo.

The cast includes Bob Turton, Ethan Corn, Adam Jefferis, Lynde Houck, Julia Finch, James Bane, Tom Szymanski – Officer Dudak and Guebri VanOver.

Accidental Death of an Anarchist is the third production of The Actors’ Gang 2018/19 Season, following the critically acclaimed Johnny Got His Gun, directed by Tim Robbins. The 2018/19 Season began on October 6th, with Johnny Got His Gun, and will conclude on June 22nd, 2019, with The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer (Formerly Violence), written by Adam Simon and Tim Robbins and directed by Bob Turton.

Other plays include One Act Festival / The Classic – No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre and Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, One Act Festival / The Original – Tradition by James Edward Bane and A Perfect World by Lynde Houck and Free Shakespeare in the Park, adapted and directed by Cynthia Ettinger, the company’s co-artistic director. The season will conclude with The Misadventure of Spike Spangle, Farmer by Tim Robbinsand Adam Simon. The Accidental Death of an Anarchist poster features original artwork by Ralph Steadman, a long-time supporter of The Actors’ Gang.

Dario Fo (Playwright, Actor, Director)

Dario Fo (1926 – 2016) was an Italian satirist, actor, playwright, comedian, singer, theatre director, stage designer, songwriter, painter and recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. Fo is one of the most widely performed playwrights in contemporary world theatre. Fo wrote more than 80 plays, coauthoring some of them with Franca Rame. Among his most popular plays are Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970) and We Can’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! (1974). As a performer, Fo is best known for his solo tour de force Mistero Buffo (1973), based on medieval mystery plays but so topical that the shows changed with each audience.

His plays have been translated into 30 languages and performed across the world, and when performed outside Italy, they are often modified to reflect local political and other issues. Dario Fo encouraged directors and translators to modify his plays as they see fit, as he found this in accordance to the commedia dell’arte tradition of on-stage improvisation. Fo and his wife and collaborator Franca Rame established a worldwide reputation for their biting satire in their writing and performances. Corruption in the Catholic Church and the Italian government, police brutality, abuses in the prison system, violations of human rights, the Mafia, rape, the denial of Italian women’s access to divorce and abortion: Fo and Rame subjected every institution, political party, power broker, corrupt organization, and controversial law in Italy to their formidable satirical powers. Over the years, they were censored, banned, rebuked, denied visas-and played to packed houses all over the world. Upon awarding him the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature, the committee highlighted Fo as a writer “who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”.

Will Thomas McFadden (Director, Actor)

McFadden has been a company member and director with The Actors’ Gang for nearly 8 years now. Most recently, Will played the title character and directed the original musical Captain Greedy’s Carnival. He also co-created/directed The Queen Family Very Special Holiday Special, Much Ado About Avengers, Mighty Morphin Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as the short play A Perfect World from Angels, Devils and Other Things. As a theater actor, his credits include, Harlequino: On To Freedom, Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1984 and Harry Potter Hamlet. Outside of the theater, you may have seen Will in the 1992 straight to home video classic Only You, on HBO’s The Brink, or in one of his many YouTube videos which have tallied more than 60 million views.

Tim Robbins (Artistic Director, The Actors’ Gang)

For the past 37 years, Tim Robbins has served as Artistic Director for The Actors’ Gang, a theater company formed in 1982 that has over 150 productions and more than 100 awards to their credit. Past productions with The Actors’ Gang include: As Writer/Director – The New Colossus (2017-18), Harlequino On to Freedom (2017), Break the Whip (2010-11), Embedded (2003-4), Mayhem, the Invasion (1992), Carnage, A Comedy (1988-89), Violence, The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer (1987) and Alagazam (1986). As Director -A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2012-16), Orwells’ 1984 (2006-16), Mephisto (2001), The Good Woman of Setzuan (1991), Methusalem, the Eternal Bourgeois (1985), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1984), Ubu the King (1982); In addition to producing live theater throughout the year, The Actors’ Gang provides arts education to thousands of Elementary, Middle and High School students working in 12 LA USD schools and in underserved communities in the L.A. area. Since 2006, The Actors’ Gang‘s groundbreaking Prison Project provides theatrical workshops to incarcerated men and women in 12 California prisons.

As Actor, his credits include Here and Now, Marjorie Prime, The Brink, Mystic River, The Shawshank Redemption, The Player, Bull Durham and Jacob’s Ladder. As a writer/director Dead Man Walking, The Cradle Will Rock, and Bob Roberts. Robbins has won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG Award, the Prix d’Interprétation Masculine at the Cannes Film Festival and the Officier de L’Ordre des Arts des Lettres from the Republic of France.

Tickets for Accidental Death of an Anarchist are available by calling 310-838-4264 or online at Tickets range from $25 – $50 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Actors’ Gang Theatre is located at The Ivy Substation at 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA, 90232.