UTC Theatre Company will present The Arsonists, Sept. 26-30. In the Max Frisch play, ordinary citizen Gottlieb Biedermann finds himself playing host to unwanted house guests who act suspiciously like the arsonists who are burning down homes in his city.
“I love that this play is absurd and funny while still being political and philosophical,” Director Steve Ray says. “In the world of the play, arsonists are burning down the city by conniving their way into homes and burning them down. Our main character says he could never fall prey to such obvious villains, but his politeness and guilt causes him to be more gullible than he can imagine.”
The new translation by Alistair Beaton featured Benedict Cumberbatch in the original London production. Mr. Ray says he is proud of the students who are bringing this show to life at UTC. “I think the actors are having fun playing with absurd types—the evil arsonists, the bourgeois home owner, the grieving widow, the canny maid. The chorus of firefighters are really interesting. To me, they represent the structures that society creates to protect its citizens. What they find is that it is really hard to protect someone from themselves.”
Commenting on the deeper themes of author Max Frisch, Mr. Ray says, “This play is about the consequences of letting bad or evil ideas into our world. When the play was first performed in Germany after WWII, it had a lot to say about the Nazis. The play still seems timely today. Many of us feel like our friends on the opposite end of the political spectrum from us are embracing bad ideas that could have disastrous consequences for our country.”
UTC Theatre Company presents The Arsonists in the Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre, in UTC’s Fine Arts Center, at the corner of Vine and Palmetto. The show will run Sept. 26-30 at 7:30 p.m. with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Sept. 30. Tickets can be purchased at the Fine Arts Center box office by phone at 425-4269 or in person. Tickets are also available to purchase at utc.edu/finearts. Tickets are $12 general admission and $10 for students and seniors.
UTC Theatre Company’s production of The Arsonists features:
Cast: Madeline Franklin-Dean, Zaniah Harris, Brianna Jones, Matthew Kidwell, Sammy Mai, Meg Phinney, Marquez Pierce, Mary Ripley, Tate Runyon, Alex Smith, Jonathan Stegmann, Cooper Tidwell, Linsey Watkins, Mikki White
Director: Steve Ray
Technical Direction: John Burgess
Scene Designer: Adam Miecielica
Lighting Designer: Reid Austin
Costume Designer: Kim Davis
Stage Manager: Josiah Motok