Light Up the Night

Press Release Edited by Sarah Wallace

Fom left to right: Mikey Wecht ’14 (Chorus Leader), Madison Donoho ’17 (Eisenring), and Jack Massion ’14 (Biedermann) in a scene from The Firebugs. Costumes by Elaine Kauffman. Photo by Emily Salswedel ''16.

Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College’s invites you to its Winter Quarter production of The Firebugs by Max Frisch as a part of their 50th Anniversary Season.

The play is directed by Nora Hauk ’04, who is currently working on her doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan. She has taken on the challenge of directing the second production of this play, having been performed last in 1964 by Festival Playhouse Founder and Professor Nelda K. Balch, for whom the theatre itself is named.

The Firebugs is a satirical comedy, first written in German by Max Frisch in 1953. It tells the story of Biedermann, a man who lives in a town regularly attacked by arsonists. The story begins when Biedermann foolishly lets two arsonists into his home, going out of his way to accommodate their outrageous requests out of fear of offending them.

Hauk emphasized that rather than choosing what he knows is true and right, Biedermann chooses political correctness, and this comes with dire consequences.

The Firebugs is a play about the trouble that people can get into as they try to maintain the status quo and their own social standing in the face of major challenges,” said Hauk.

“Despite all the warning signs, Biedermann fails to take a stand.”

While the play is comical, it delivers a serious message. Considering the time period and setting that it was written, it is likely that it symbolizes the way Nazis worked their way into the lives of the average German citizen.

Dramaturg Belinda McCauley ’16 shared an interpretation of the play’s meaning.

“It has been speculated for decades that Biedermann’s dilemma throughout the play is allegorical to the way humans unintentionally allow evil into their lives,” said McCauley.

Many messages can be taken from The Firebugs, but McCauley described her thought on the most vital one.

“Perhaps the one [message] to be concerned with is the way words are used. What do your words say about you? Do your words start fires? Or do your words save lives?”

The Firebugs’ design team includes Theatre Arts Professor Lanny Potts (scenery), Elaine Kauffman (costumes), Lydia Strini ’14 (lights) and Lindsay Worthington ’16  (sound).

The show will open on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 PM, and run Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and Mar. 1 at 8:00 PM. The show’s final performance is Sunday, Mar. 2 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for seniors and $15 for other adults and may be purchased at the door. Thursday is “pay-what-you-can” night.


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