STRAWDOG THEATRE COMPANY LAUNCHES THE FIRST PRODUCTION OF ITS 27th SEASON MAX FRISCH’S THE ARSONISTS, AUGUST 15 – SEPTEMBER 27
Strawdog Theatre Company and Artistic Director Hank Boland are proud to announce the first production of their 2014 – 2015 season, Max Frisch’s The Arsonists, August 15 – September 27, direction by Matt Hawkins and adapted by Alistair Beaton, at Strawdog Theatre Company, 3829 N. Broadway St. Preview performances are Friday, Aug. 15 and Saturday, Aug. 16, Thursday, Aug. 21 and Friday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. is the Board Preview. . The performance schedule is Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m.and Sundays at 4 p.m. An industry performance is Monday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Single tickets are currently on sale for $15 for preview performances, $50 for the Board Preview performance that includes appetizers, open bar and a reception immediately following the production, and $28 for the regular run. Subscriptions, group, senior and student discounts are also available. Tickets may be ordered online at strawdog.org or by calling OvationTix toll-free: 866-811-4111.
Strawdog Artistic Associate Matt Hawkins (Red Noses, Big Love) returns to Strawdog to helm The Arsonists, a parable about society’s capacity to accommodate the very thing that destroys it. Bidemann (Rob Kauzlaric), a prominent businessman, is living in a city that has been the scene of mysterious fires. When two strangers ask him for shelter on a rainy evening, Bidemann does what all good citizens should do and offers them his home. As the evidence begins to mount indicating his guests are the men setting the fires, Bidemann must choose what to do, turn out his guests or help them light the match.
The Arsonists, originally called the The Firebugs (was first published in German as Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter, and sometimes translated in English as Biedermann and the Firebugs), is one of Frisch’s most enduring plays and written in the years following World War II. It was first conceived of in a short entry in one of Frisch’s diaries and the devised for a radio play in 1951. The radio play turned out to be popular, Frisch reworked it for the stage. The play was performed on stage for the first time in 1958. The cast also includes Strawdog ensemble members Scott Danielson and Sarah Goeden with guest artists Ira Amyx, Rebecca Wolfe, Lea Pascal, Jared Fernley, Mike Ooi, Neal Starbird, Scottie Caldwell, Rob Vignisson and Blair Robertson.
The production team also includes Strawdog Company members Mike Mroch, set design; Sean Mallary, light designer and Brittany Dee Bodley, costume design with guest artists Kenton Gott, assistant director; Katie Adams, stage manager; Laura Barati, production manager; Sarah Espinoza, sound designer/Asst. Director; Jamie Karas, props designer; Ian Olsen, technical director and Cypress Staelin, master electrician.
ABOUT MAX FRISCH, playwright
Max Frisch gave up his original profession as a Swiss architect once he became a successful author. He was a prolific writer throughout his life, producing plays, novels, and diaries. In college, Frisch took classes in German literature and philosophy. He dropped out of college in 1932, after his father’s death, to support his mother. He turned to journalism for his first job. This gave him the opportunity not only to hone his skills as a writer but also to travel around Europe. As his skill in drama improved, he had a chance to gain the acquaintance of Bertolt Brecht, famed German playwright, whose work Frisch had studied in school. Brecht’s work would highly influence Frisch’s writing as the playwright matured. In 1958, he won the prestigious Georg-Buchner Prize, the greatest honor given for German-language literature. In the 1960s, Frisch’s work was translated for English-speaking audiences as his Firebugs and his other more famous play Andorra (1961), a play about racial prejudice, were staged in London and in the United States for the first time. In 1985, he was given the Common Wealth Award for distinguished work in literature for his life’s work. In 1987, Frisch was invited to attend the Moscow Peace Congress, where he delivered a speech about working toward world peace. He died of cancer on April 4, 1991.
ABOUT ALISTAIR BEATON, adaptor
Alistair Beaton’s work spans theatre, television, radio and publishing. He was born in Glasgow and educated at the Universities of Edinburgh, Moscow and Bochum, graduating from Edinburgh University with First Class Honors in Russian and German. He is regarded as one of Britain’s top political satirists. Beaton’s most recent play, Caledonia, a story of greed, euphoria and mass delusion, was co-production between the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Scotland and was staged at the Kings Theatre Edinburgh in 2010. He is currently writing a screenplay for Channel 4 about the break-up of the United Kingdom.
ABOUT MATT HAWKINS, director
Matt Hawkins is a founding member of The House Theatre of Chicago, an artistic associate and resident director with Strawdog Theatre, and has been an artistic associate with 500 Clown. He is the recipient of five Jeff Awards, including two for Best Fight Choreography, one for Best Musical, Best Director and Best Production. He was named one of the top five “Most Prolific Artists Of The Decade” by Time Out Chicago and his production of Red Noses at Strawdog Theatre was named one of the “Top Ten Shows of 2009” by Time Out Chicago. While completing his B.F.A. from Southern Methodist University, he was the recipient of the Greer Garson Award, the Bob Hope Scholarship and the Dallas Critics’ Forum Award for Best Actor. He also holds an M.F.A. in directing from The University of Iowa, where he was an Iowa Arts Directing Fellow and the recipient of the IRAM Award for outstanding contribution to Iowa’s New Play Festival.
ABOUT STRAWDOG THEATRE COMPANY
Since its founding in 1988, Strawdog Theatre Company has offered Chicagoland the premiere storefront theatre experience and garnered numerous Non-Equity Jeff Awards with its commitment to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. The celebrated Company develops new work, re-imagines the classics, melds music with theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers their audience the unexpected.
Strawdog Theatre Company and Artistic Director Hank Boland are proud to announce the first production of their 2014 – 2015 season, Max Frisch’s The Arsonists, August 15 – September 27, direction by Matt Hawkins and adapted by Alistair Beaton, at Strawdog Theatre Company, 3829 N. Broadway St. Preview performances are Friday, Aug. 15 and Saturday, Aug. 16, Thursday, Aug. 21 and Friday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. is the Board Preview. The opening night performance isMonday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. An industry performance is Monday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Single tickets are currently on sale for $15 for preview performances, $50 for the Board Preview performance that includes appetizers, open bar and a reception immediately following the production, and $28 for the regular run. Subscriptions, group, senior and student discounts are also available. Tickets may be ordered online at strawdog.org or by calling OvationTix toll-free: 866-811-4111.
All productions, plus ongoing late night offerings, are presented at Strawdog’s space in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, 3829 N. Broadway St. Tickets are available at 773.528.9696 or www.strawdog.org.
The neighborhood has limited paid parking and is easily accessible by public transportation (via the Red Line Sheridan stop, plus 36-Broadway, 80-Irving Park, and 151-Sheridan buses).
Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Illinois Arts Council (a state agency) and the annual support of businesses and individuals.