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  The Arsonists at Trap Door Theatre

The Arsonists

Trap Door Theatre
1655 W. Cortland Chicago

A study of a tepid society that refuses to question obvious exploitation, Max Frisch’s The Arsonists introduces mild mannered Mr. Biederman, who, emotionally castrated by his bourgeois guilt allows two smooth talking arsonists to burn his house to the ground. Parisian Clowning Master and Director and Founder of Cie Umbral Theatre in Paris, Victor Quezada-Perez uses stylistic clowning and a live band of firemen to re-envision Frisch’s parable about accommodating the very thing that will destroy you.

Thru - Dec 1, 2012

Price: $20-$25

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-384-0494

Running Time: 1hr, 45mins; no intermission

  The Arsonists Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"... The ensemble provides stellar work throughout, but the balance between Doonan's Eisenring and his faux-sentimental comrade in conflagration, David Steiger's Schmitz, is particularly noteworthy. Tiffany Bedwell as Biedermann's suspicious but helpless wife, Babette, and John Kahara as put-upon maid Anna also deliver delicious portraits of bourgeois conformity in the face of impending doom."
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Kerry Reid

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"... Trapdoor Theater ensemble has come out in force for “The Arsonists,” collaborating with director Victor Quezada-Perez, founder of a Parisian company built around the art of clowning. The ensemble has developed into incredibly expressive clowns, each with a unique mask and versatile toolbox of mannerisms. Each uses his/her entire body to its fullest, yet always within the bounds of the style set by the others. This delightfully ghoulish ensemble is spearheaded by David Steiger (who somehow manages to rocket from creepy to gleeful to humble in about a second and a half) and anchored by a superb group of musicians."

John Dalton

Chicago Stage Review - Highly Recommended

"...The Arsonists is an inflammable exaggeration of stupidity dressed up as fate that blazes until it can't be extinguished. If you are familiar with the play, then you will be delighted with Trap Door's re-imagined visions of Frisch's dark masterpiece. If this play is new to you, then you will be consumed by the breathtakingly complete un-reality."
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Venus Zarris

Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended

"...The music, orchestrated by Osvaldo Calo & Victor Quezada-Perez, and played onstage by the cast, is gorgeous too, instilling a sense of urgency that the production otherwise seems to lack. Director Quezada-Perez's staging doesn't bite quite as hard as this play ought to. It's a one-note show, and we know how it's going to end from the very beginning. This guest director from Paris glazes over the nuance of the play, placing the burden of keeping our attention entirely on the actor's clowning. The Arsonists looks great, but doesn't quite hold us to the flame."
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Paul Kubicki

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Infused with songs by the firemen and the cast, The Arsonists is 105 minutes of worthy, stylistic theatre. The clowning techniques by the dedicated players was amazing. It seemed like they have been practicing European Clowning for years. The supporting players, like Noah Durham, as the policeman, etc. was particularly effective. Bob Wilson played Bierderman with an unattached naivete while David Steiger and Michael Doonan played the arsonists with manic determination. The acting and clowning plus the weirdly fine music made Trap Door's production sizzle. For serious theatre lovers, seeing Victor Quezada-Perez ‘s clowning and directing style becomes a "I'm glad I saw it" experience. For those thespians interested in European clowning, The Arsonists is a must see event. For those brave souls who yearn for something quite different, The Arsonists offers enough to please."
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Tom WIlliams

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