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Theatre to open with dark comedy 'The Arsonists'

September  28, 2012

Arsonists poster

Augustana College's Department of Theatre Arts will present the dark comedy The Arsonists in October, the first production of its 2012-13 season, "Balancing Act." 

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays Oct. 12-21 in Potter Theatre on the upper level of Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts, 3701 7th Ave., Rock Island, Ill.

Tickets are $11 for the public and $9 for senior citizens, students and Augustana faculty/staff.

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The Arsonists is the story of the Biedermanns, who lead a quiet, secure and comfortable upper middle-class life. Despite the fact that the town in which they reside is reeling from a series of arson attacks, Mr. Biedermann believes his success and his own good nature will protect them. But a knock at the door starts a series of events that will lead to a downfall.

This dark comedy enjoyed a successful 2007 revival in London's Royal Court Theatre, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Alistair Beaton's new, modern translation proves The Arsonists to be as timely and relevant as it was when written by Frisch in 1953.

"I have come to realize that even though Max Frisch wrote this in the 1950s, it has become increasingly topical and relevant to the world in which we live," said director Jeffrey Coussens, professor and chair of the theatre arts department.

"Today we are surrounded by threats, both real and imaginary. The Arsonists really makes us reflect on the expectations and limits of our personal ethical responsibility in dealing with perceived threats to our communities."

John D'Aversa '15, an Asian studies major from Plainfield, Ill., plays the character of Eisenring.

"The Arsonists is a more powerful play than expected, and in a different way than is commonly displayed." he said. "It shows not an evil entity, but a dark and macabre one. It touches on parts of the human psyche that are too often left untouched."

Tickets can be purchased through the Augustana Ticket Office (309) 794-7306 or at

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833