The Valley Players, Waitsfield, will be putting on a production of “The Arsonists,” originally written by Max Frisch in 1953 and translated by Alistair Beaton.
“The Arsonists” is directed locally by Louis Bronson, has a seven-member cast, and runs 85 minutes. It is set in the late 1950s and 1960s in America. The one-act play was originally written in German after WWII by Frisch.
The play is meant to be timeless and relevant. Bronson wanted to Americanize the piece as a whole rather than make it directly about a certain time or place setting. Bronson talked about the theme of the play being larger than the dialogue and the characters, where audience members will be engaged through relevant dry humor.
The play is about a community that is regularly plagued by unknown arsonists. A single gentleman, Gottlieb Biedermann (played by Liam Hannon, Duxbury), thinks his world could go up in flames at any moment. A successful businessman and his wife, Babette (Danielle Howes, Moretown), are happy enough in their home but are soon plagued with worry with the unknown arsonists nearer than they think.
Unbeknownst to him, events that tie him to the life of crime around him unfold. Featuring dark humor, witty dialogue and poignant societal commentary, Frisch’s play was adapted by Alistair Beaton in 2007.
“The Arsonists” is full of questions with satire, which will prod audience members to think about the connection between the timeless drama on stage and the world today.
Bronson hopes that the production makes people aware of their surroundings and the importance of addressing problems and how society as a whole can do better.
The play also features Madison Commo (Moretown) as Anna, Sarah McDougal (Warren) as Schmitz. Dvora Zipkin (Worcester) and Mikki Nucci (Waitsfield) also play a variety of roles. Kate O’Neill (Moretown) is the stage manager, and the play is produced by Doug Bergstein (Warren) and directed by Louis Bronson (Waitsfield).
This production is set to hit the Valley Players Theater stage November 30 through December 16, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. There will be talk-back sessions after the shows on December 8 and 15, where audience members can ask the cast after the production about the piece itself, characters portrayed and underlying themes.