Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Firebugs"

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note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Larry Stark

"The Firebugs"

by Max Frisch
Directed by Atissa Banuazizi & Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Composer Mark Warhol
Choreographer Matt Kossack

Set Design by Julia Noulin-Merat
Costume Design by Debbi Hobson
Props by Edward Roche & Rachel Moliere
Original Music & Sound Design by John Gromada
Assistant Stage Manager Edward Roche
Stage Manager Marcela Jarmillo

Gottlieb Biedermann.....Bill Doscher
Anna..................Flavia Steiner
Sepp Schmitz........Floyd Richardson
Babette.....Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Willi Eisenring........Stephen Libby
Policeman......Paul S. Benford-Bruce
Mrs. Knechtling......Elizabeth Kurtz
Ph.D. ................Rick Carpenter
Leader of The Chorus....Anna Waldron

Chorus of Firemen
Vladimir Aseneta, Paul S. Benford-Bruce, Mike Budwey, Santo Cupon, Tiyana Fox-Portis, Timothy Hoover, Stacie Kinkade, Lorna McKenzie

Meaghan Miller, Caitlyn Perry, Ryan Yure, Mark Zaleski

"The Firebugs" is an expressionist warning against complacency. Firemen are paid to protect property and populace -- but they can only help After a fire starts. There are nine of them in this production, in bright yellow waterproof coats, all with portable extinguishers at the ready every time anyone strikes a match to light a candle, or a ciagr. They give thanks every morning that dawn is unencumbered by smoke, they are ever on watch --- yet fire is everywhere. If they rush to quench one, who knows where another will break out? Poor Biedermann....

The moral here, such as it is, advises that it's dangerous to wilt when an aggressive, unscrupulous thug --- like Floyd Richardson, playing a circus wrestler out of work (his circus burned to the ground, the owner who insulted him to a cinder!) or Stephen Libby playing his old friend, newly out of prison (on charges of arson!) --- wheedles his way into a bed in an attic room. They might store barrels of gasoline up there without telling you, might play about with detonators. Of course you probably shouldn't Insult or Annoy such people --- right? Right??? Who knows What they might do if you did...

The fireman-chorus here engage in deadly, stamping chants while on watch, and spinning dances by Choreographer Matt Kossack. A sharply angular score by Mark Warhol, scored for flute and clarinet in disjointed duet with brightly crystaline percussion, exaggerates the unreality.

Frisch has provided a kind of theatrical cartoon in which Bill Doscher and Danielle Fauteux Jacques are too urbane, too middle-class to insult those without jobs, too eager to invite them instead to dinner to get them, as it were, on the Right Side. Surely the wouldn't set the place ablaze when everyone is so Nice to them, would they! Would they???

A really Red spotlight shone through curling smoke is a really eerie thing to see!


"THE FIREBUGS" (9 - 23 December)
1 (617)887-2336

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide