Max Frisch The Arsonists, trans. By Alistair Beaton / The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble’s KOAN Unit / the production I saw was a matinee on May 16, 2010
More commonly known as Biedermann and the Fire Raisers or, in many American productions, simply as The Firebugs (my own favorite since it seems in keeping with the nature of its two central characters), the Odyssey Ensemble production was newly translated by Alistair Beaton, a version that presumably “demonstrates, once and for all…the universality of this modern seminal play.”
Gradually as the dinner proceeds, the two make it clearer and clearer that they will burn down the house—and others—that very evening! But even then, Biedermann and his wife Anna cannot truly comprehend their doom. Fire trucks zoom by distracted by other fires the two have set just outside the city, while Schmitt and Eisenring borrow the matches from their host to finish their job.
Los Angeles, May 18, 2010
(c) 2010 by Douglas Messerli