When Max Frisch's Biedermann and the Arsonists premiered at the Pfauen 65 years ago, the positive reactions were based on a misunderstanding: the Zurich audience did not see the play as a farce about bourgeois hypocrisy, but rather as a direct call not to let strangers into the house. Max Frisch was dismayed and added an epilogue to the play to make his satirical intentions clear.

Despite the author's dismay, the misunderstanding of the Zurich premiere is perhaps not entirely coincidental: in the play, it is the poor and destitute peddlers who burn down the city, not the wealthy bourgeoisie. The fact that their prosperity is based, among other things, on the fact that they walk over dead bodies is clearly mentioned in the play, but remains invisible - they profit from the suffering of the world, but don't want to see it.
At the end of a turbulent and not lacking in misunderstandings artistic director Nicolas Stemann revisits the Swiss satire about bourgeois hypocrisy, false hospitality and distorted self-images. In the end, it's not just the roof gables that burn - at least that's what the play says.
Premiere March 21, 2024