USD Theatre to present social satire Feb. 25-29 The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre will present Biedermann and the Firebugs, a social satire by noted Swiss playwright Max Frisch, Feb. 25-28 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.
Translated by Michael Bullock, Biedermann and the Firebugs satirizes middle class ethics and morality as expressed through the struggles of the title character Gottlieb Biedermann. Biedermann, who is a hair tonic industrialist, lives in an urban world where arsonists are burning down homes and buildings. The government has warned everyone not to allow any strangers into their homes, but Biedermann, acting out of stupidity and fear, does just that when a persuasive peddler shows up at his door.
The consequences of this intrusion prove to be both comic and catastrophic as Biedermann loses control of his environment. In a world where we fail to learn from the past or to accept responsibility for our errors, Biedermann and the Firebugs proves to be hauntingly appropriate for a post 9/11 world.
A team of talented students leads the artistic process. Brian Begley (Vermillion) directs the action, while Michael Rohlena (Sioux City, IA), Amanda Fehlner (Tabor, IA), and Susan Hill (Rio Rancho, NM) design the set, costumes, and lights, respectively.
Professor Dennis Chandler designs the sound. The cast includes Keith Goeden (Yankton) as Biedermann, Rose Ann Kelly (Aberdeen) as Babette, his wife, and Cathy Andela (Hawarden, IA) as Anna, the family maid.
Tyler Swank (Rapid City) and Brian Adams (Lead) play Eisenring and Joseph-Sepp-Schmitz, two intruders into the Biedermann home. Rusty Ruth (Deadwood) portrays a Ph.D., Amanda Miller (Council Bluffs, IA) Mrs. Knechtling, and Amanda Sides (Smithwick) a police officer.
The play also includes a chorus of firefighters, a group of ineffectual superheroes. Firefighters include Sarah Hoar (Aberdeen), Joie Bauer (Morse Bluff, NE), Regina Aerts (Malcolm, NE), Alex Baker (Hot Springs), and Kyle A. Wasserman (Chamberlain).
Tickets for Biedermann and the Firebugs are $9 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $5 for youth and non-USD students, and $1 for USD students with current ID. Reservations can be made by calling the University Theatre box office at (605) 677-5400 beginning Feb. 18. Group rates are available.