Chicago Theatre Review: THE ARSONISTS (Trap Door)

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by Paul Kubicki on October 17, 2012

in Theater-Chicago

OXYGEN? YES. FUEL? YES. HEAT? NO.

There are arsonists who want to burn down a town, and they want the citizens to help. In Max Frisch’s absurdist play, a city has whipped itself into a frenzy over manmade fires, but they won’t acknowledge their complicity in the conflagrations. And while they Paul Kubicki’s Stage and Cinema review of Trap Door’s THE ARSONISTS in Chicagoknow theoretically how to stop the arsonists, they can’t forgo the strictures of hospitality and polite society to actually follow through. No stranger to the aesthetics of avant garde theatre, Trap Door sets a gorgeous stage for The Arsonists, with actors masterfully clowning each of the parts. This, combined with Mike Mroch’s antique-looking set adorned liberally with cans of petrol, gives the production a feeling of eerie inevitability. The music, orchestrated by Osvaldo Calo & Victor Quezada-Perez, and played onstage by the cast, is gorgeous too, instilling a sense of urgency that the production otherwise seems to lack. Director Quezada-Perez’s staging doesn’t bite quite as hard as this play ought to. It’s a one-note show, and we know how it’s going to end from the very beginning. This guest director from Paris glazes over the nuance of the play, placing the burden of keeping our attention entirely on the actor’s clowning. The Arsonists looks great, but doesn’t quite hold us to the flame.

Paul Kubicki’s Stage and Cinema review of Trap Door’s THE ARSONISTS in Chicago

photos by Michal Janicki

The Arsonists
Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland
Thurs-Sat at 8
ends on Nov 17, 2012 EXTENDED to December 1, 2012
for tickets, call 773-384-0494 or visit Trap Door

for more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago

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