The room went dark and suddenly a disembodied voice rang out over the speakers “In the very unlikely instance that there is a fire…” I had to laugh; this was after all, The Arsonists. Directed by David A. Miller, written by Max Frisch, and translated by Alistair Beaton, Bloomsburg University Players presents the re-staging of The Arsonists at Alvina Krause Theatre on 226 Center Street in Bloomsburg from November 1st through the 5th. Gottlieb Biedermann (Noah Eisengrein) unwittingly opens his home to the two arsonists responsible for a series of nearby fires when he allows Joe Schmitz (Jonathan Schultz) and Billy Eisenring (Carly Carman) to stay in his attic at the expense of his wife Babette (Toni Carosella) and his maid Anna (Kendall Baird).
Noah Eisengrein did a remarkable job when portraying his character of Gottlieb as a man who let his anger and fear ruin his chance at the simple life he claimed to want. Jonathan Schultz very realistically portrayed Joe as a man who could easily manipulate those around him in order to gain control of every situation. Carly Carman was frighteningly devious when she truly became Billy, telling the out right truth about every plan while still being able to get off completely scot-free. Toni Carosella did a beautiful job as Babette, a woman portrayed as having a weak heart, but one who stayed strong throughout the play, despite her instincts telling her that she was in danger. Kendall Baird gave life to Anna and made her a huge part of the comic relief throughout the play. All of the characters drew the audience in through their engaging performances, and gave life to the performance with their strong vocal projection.
The design elements truly drew me into the story. The background caught my attention immediately upon entering the theatre. All of the buildings were extremely detailed and quite beautiful. The lighting throughout the play followed the storyline perfectly and was sometimes a cue of what would happen next. The use of realistic props was very refreshing and also gave some comic relief at moments. The music provided more emotion throughout the play but did not make the play predictable. In addition, all of the costumes really added to each of the characters and their characteristics. Overall, all of the design elements together really gave new meaning to the performance and the characters.
Each person involved in this play did an outstanding job of bringing together all of the different necessary elements to put on an enthralling performance. I highly recommend that everyone take time out of his or her busy schedule to go to at least one showing of The Arsonists this upcoming weekend. I must admit, I went to this showing simply because of an assignment with the mindset that I could probably be using this time for other homework, but I was quickly drawn into the storyline and by the end of the production I could not have been happier that I was given this assignment. I have never been to a production by the BU Players, but I will definitely be attending more shows from now on, and I hope everyone else on campus takes my advice and does so too, starting with The Arsonists tonight.
BU Players give it their all in last dress rehearsal before opening night. The Arsonists is live this weekend at the Alvina Krauss Theater in Bloomsburg!
Brooke McCoy/The Voice