The Fire Raisers brings together the Swiss Playwright Max Frisch’s witty text with a Brechtian chorus sung under the musical direction of Neo Muyanga, Spirale’s choral expertise and Magnet’s unique physical imagery.
The production explores with incendiary effect the consequences that face a world in which the gap between rich and poor widens daily. Written in 1968 in Switzerland as a response the rise of fascism in Europe the play works in South Africa today as a timely reminder that reconciliation based on political compromise and simple calls for racial harmony will always remain fragile if we ignore the social economic and cultural exclusion and injustice experienced by so many in our country, an exclusion that gives rise to so much of the culture of violence that surrounds us.
The chorus of puppets for The Fire Raisers were developed as a group of municipal city workers, alive in their everyday duties yet with constructed ‘work’ identities. They are individual people of the city but as firemen they are unified in their role and way they present themselves. They are naturalistic but clearly constructed which plays into their role as both chorus and mob in the production.
“Mark Fleishman’s genius in the director’s chair is clearly visible as he builds the wonder with a strong cast perspective changes and disruptions that effortlessly interlock imagination and reality. The life like, omniscient, omnipresent puppets that form the chorus, as in a typical Greek tragedy, further ensconce the magical realism. The Fire Raisers is a piece of theatre that we all need to see. It is challenging theatre and highly recommended.” – Rafiek Mammon, Cape Times. 25 August, 2004
Producer: Magnet Theatre and Theatre Spirale
Author: Max Frich.
Musical direction and composition: Neo Muyanga
Puppet Design and construction: Janni Younge
Puppet design nominated for a Fleur du cap Award