Translated from the German by Michael Bullock, "this comic masterpiece" is "the story of a pompous businessman who refuses to see the crimes taking place right under his nose."
TACT presents its shows with costume and lighting design, original live music and script-in-hand (actors rarely face each other, underscoring the importance of the words).
"Written in 1958, The Firebugs is based on a radio drama that Max Frisch wrote in 1953 under the title Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter (Conventional Man and the Fire Founders)," according to TACT production notes. "It met with great success on the German-language stage and was also performed in the Netherlands, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Finland, Israel, Sweden, France and Spain. It was produced in London in 1961 as The Fire Raisers and Off Broadway in America in 1963 as The Firebugs, under the direction of Gene Frankel. New Yorkers had the opportunity to see one of Frisch's more popular plays, Andorra, on Broadway at the same time as The Firebugs was playing Off-Broadway. Unfortunately, for the author, neither play was considered a hit..."
The play had an Off-Broadway revival in 2002 by Colleagues Theatre Company at the Neighborhood Playhouse, starring Laurence Luckinbill.
The TACT staging of The Firebugs is directed by Scott Alan Evans with a cast that includes TACT company members Sean Arbuckle, Nora Chester, Francesca Di Mauro, Kyle Fabel, Kelly Hutchinson, Simon Jones, Greg McFadden, Scott Schaefer and guest artists Jim Holdridge, Joel Jones and Jefferson Slinkard. The production team includes Mary Louise Geiger (lighting design), Elizabeth Payne (costume design) and Jonathan Faiman (original music).
TACT's co-artistic directors are Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris and Simon Jones.
TACT "celebrates language, the actor, and the spoken word," according to its mission. "Founded by professional actors in 1992, TACT is dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely performed plays of literary merit with a focus on creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor?s ability to bring it to life."
The 2004-05 12th season of TACT includes Zack (New York premiere) by Harold Brighouse Jan. 22-24, 2005; Home by David Storey March 12-14, 2005; and R.U.R. by Karel Capek April 30-May 2, 2005.
Performances of The Firebugs play Florence Gould Hall at the French Institute Alliance Français, 55 E. 59th Street, 7:30 PM Nov. 20, 2 PM Nov. 21, and 7:30 PM Nov. 22.
Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100. Tickets can also be purchased at the Florence Gould Hall box office.
For more information on TACT, visit www.TACTnyc.org.