Theatre In DC 
Your Source For What's On Stage In DC 

   Quick Search
Search by date:

  The Arsonists at Woolly Mammoth Theatre

The Arsonists

Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St NW Washington

You probably know the meme of the cartoon dog surrounded by flames and declaring: "This is fine." But you might not know this classic work that may as well have inspired it. Mild-mannered Mr. Biederman tries to live a blameless life, refusing to acknowledge evil of any kind -- even as the world around him burns. The facade comes crashing down when he allows two smooth-talking guests to move in to his home and they start filling his attic with petrol drums. Part moral fable and part black farce, Alistair Beaton's The Arsonists is an elegant, witty translation of Max Frisch's 1958 absurdist comedy The Firebugs, which was inspired by the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948 and satirizes the way in which people can be manipulated into accommodating their own destruction.

Thru - Oct 8, 2017

Box Office: 202-393-3939

Nearby Restaurants

  The Arsonists Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

MetroWeekly - Recommended

"...Bringing such contemporary reference is no small feat and Garces also adeptly handles Frisch's strong penchant for abstraction. Keeping it fast-paced and by turns comical and foreboding, we may not have time to catch every nuance, but neither are we left dangling too long in the Theater of the Absurd."

Kate Wingfield

BroadwayWorld - Highly Recommended

"...If you want to see actors at the top of their game, enhancing the performances of those around them with humor, resolve, and grit, then THE ARSONISTS can't be beat. Howard Shalwitz in his 38th Season as Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth delivers a knock-out performance as George Betterman."
Read Full Review

Evann Normandin

Talkin Broadway - Recommended

"...Director Michael John Garces and the actors are not going for subtlety here; they want the audience to feel uncomfortable while laughing at other people's absurdities, but not by treating the characters as jokes. Audience members are invited to stay for post-show discussions after every performance."
Read Full Review

Susan Berlin

DC Metro Theater Arts - Recommended

"...Michael John Garces directs the madness, and he's squeezed every bit of irony out of the lime of this story: we don't want to enjoy this condemnation of our world, but the ovation we give at show's end is a necessary show of appreciation."
Read Full Review

Robert Michael Oliver

MD Theatre Guide - Recommended

"...Woolly Mammoth understands that this show is one that is going to get people talking, it even provides talk backs after every performance. But for all of its provocation, "The Arsonists" doesn't tell you what you're supposed to believe. Betterman is not a perfect stand in for either wealthy conservatives or wealthy liberals, so there is room for interpretation. One thing is clear: if you want to feel cozy and safe, this isn't the play for you. But if you want to face the uncertainty of our times, this play is perfect."
Read Full Review

Stephanie House

  The Arsonists Photo Gallery

Follow Us On Twitter