Click the title to listenby Max Frisch
Adapted from a translation by Mordecai Gorelick
Directed and Edited by Ken Nintzel
Chuck Blasius as Gottlieb Biedermann
Susan Tierney as Babette Biedermann
Kourtney Rutherford as Anna, the maidservant
Jay Smith as Joseph “Sepp” Schmitz, a wrestler
DJ Mendel as Willi Maria Eisenring, a waiter
Eddie Lopez as The Policeman
Richard Foreman as The Ph.D
Croft Vaughn, Eddie Lopez,
Chorus of Firemen
Jonathan Lester as the Leader of the Chorus
Scene: The living room and attic of Biedermann's house
running time: 1:07
click on the title above to link to the recording via Sound Cloud
Headphones or Stereo system are recommended for listening
In January of this past year I sent out the following letter…
Within the past few months I have been reaching out to you and calling your attention to the play The Firebugs by Max Frisch. I’ve been sending out copies to read and briefly describing what I had in mind to do. Since your responses are starting to come in I wanted to take the opportunity to describe this project further and the shape its taking.
I first came across The Firebugs in 1989 when I was looking for a short work to do for Tiny Mythic’s (HERE) The American Living Room Series at the old Ohio Theater. Although it was too long for the series, it had made an unsettling impression on me. I had forgotten about it, until a few months agoThroughout the fall and into the winter I had been constantly reminded of The Firebugs, so I decided to reread it. It was even better than I had remembered…the dialogue quick, the stakes high, on the absurdist side, and so relevant for our current sociopolitical times. I thought ‘I’ve got to do this!’
What? Not only had I not directed theater in over ten years, let alone a straight play, but I had since moved on and towards other modes of expression. But while reading
The Firebugs again so many of those feelings, those original feelings we all felt when we first became attracted to plays and theater and performance, came up. This coupled with feelings of timeliness and urgency led me to decide that this is what I had to do, work towards getting The Firebugs heard.
There’s no money to produce or to be made from this. I’m hoping to tap into your love of the play and your own need to take some form of action in these increasingly troubling times. Each of you came to mind as I read and reread the play as a performer or artist who could really bring these characters and play to life. You are also people who I have worked with, in some capacity, in the past and artists who’s talents I respect greatly. I have been so encouraged by all of your responses.
I’m aiming to have informal readings within the next couple of months based on getting a sense of everyone’s interest, scheduling and availability.
The response I got was overwhelming and I was able to gather a group of people who gave three precious things: their time, talent and their commitment to the power of provocative theater. Meeting once or twice a week in my and Bil’s apartment, from February through the end of April, we read and discussed the play in a radio play format, ultimately to be spoken aloud with the idea that sound effects would be added.
With conflicts looming, that would end our gatherings, I decided to record the results of our efforts as I felt the work was definitely ready to be heard by more people.
Over the summer and through 300 takes I edited the piece and added some sound effects. I am pleased to now make this work available to you.
I welcome your reactions. Please feel free to leave comments here on this blog. If you are especially enthusiastic about this project consider hosting a Listening Party, a gathering for a number of friends where you listen to the play. The running time is one hour seven minutes and would be a unique opportunity for a get together and some timely discussion. If you'd like to host a listening party please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Posted by Ken Nintzel