The Firebugs

Max Frisch’s lead-handed morality play has a complacent hair-tonic exec help a trio of arsonists burn down his own home. “How can this possibly happen?” you ask. Well, recall that the play was written in ’53, shortly after the Swiss writer (1911-1991) had watched madness engulf Europe. In blunt response, The Firebugs is a Brechter-than-Brecht parable of gullibility, appeasement, and denial. It’s not that Gottfried Biedermann doesn’t know what arson is or doesn’t worry about it; it’s just that this haute bourgeois figure believes he can control such chaos by being kind to dangerous rabble. As Gottfried, Robert Hinds has an engaging command that anchors a cast of mixed abilities. Aspects of the play feel dated (particularly a chorus of earnest firemen), but the rest of The Firebugs is studded with sarcasm so sharp as to awaken a slumbering citizenry. When perfidy is laid out so plain to see, don’t be afraid to be afraid. (8 p.m. Thurs., Fri., Mon., 6:30 p.m. Sun., plus 8 p.m. Sat., March 26. Ends March 26.) MARGARET FRIEDMAN [See Margaret's full review.]

Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 6:30 p.m.; Sat., March 26, 8 p.m. Starts: March 10. Continues through March 26, 2011

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