The Fire Raisers
22nd - 25th November 1967
~ Directed by John Lee ~
This dark comedy is set in a town that is regularly attacked by arsonists. Disguised as door-to-door salesmen (hawkers), they talk their way into people's homes and settle down in the attic, where they set about planning the destruction of the house. The first sketch was written in 1948 in response to the Communist takeover in Prague, but the play is often seen as a metaphor for Nazism and fascism, and Frisch encourages this through several allusions.
The play shows how "normal" citizens can be taken in by evil. As a parable, in a more general sense it may be considered to be descriptive of the gullible and easily manipulated aspects of the German Biedermann - the Everyman - who yearns both for a sense of shallow propriety as well as for a deeper sense of belonging, even if it comes at a great price, including that which is sensible or even necessary for his own survival. In that sense, the play shares much with absurdist plays written at about the same time, such as Eugene Ionesco's 'Rhinoceros'.
|Georgie Dover||Widow Knechtling|
|Peter Hallam||Doctor of Philosophy|
|John Robinson||Gottleib Biedermann|
|Susan Hitch||Babette Beidermann|
|Mike Johnson||Chief Fireman|