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Author Topic: Splinter Group presents Seattle premiere of "Fireface" by Marius von Mayenberg  (Read 1376 times)
Mark Waldstein

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« on: October 31, 2015, 06:08:07 PM »


Seattle, WA – SPLINTER GROUP, in its third offering (following the acclaimed "Knocking Bird" and "The Salesman is Dead and Gone") brings the work of renowned contemporary German playwright Marius von Mayenburg to Seattle with an intimate presentation of his play "Fireface", directed by Paul Budraitis.  The production – taking place at an undisclosed private residence – runs from November 6-22, 2015.

"Fireface" details the lives Kurt and Olga, an adolescent brother and sister both struggling to come to terms with quickly approaching adulthood.  Kurt is terrified by the prospect of living the same kind of unfulfilling, pedestrian life that he sees his parents living – and he begins to lash out by setting fire to buildings around town.

Olga, his slightly older sister, feels the urges of her burgeoning sexuality and begins to explore those urges with her brother...and later with a kind young man from a broken home.

Kurt and Olga’s parents are doing the best they can, but they just can’t seem to come to terms with the changes they’ve been seeing in their children.  The parents believe they are simply trying to prepare their children for living a normal, productive life. Eventually, the tensions build to the point where all of their lives are forever changed.


"Fireface" shot Mayenburg to prominence in Germany at the age of 27.  Only two years later, he became writer-in-residence at Berlin’s Schaubühne theater; his works have since been produced in London, Sydney, Toronto, and New York. 

“The play is about crossing the threshold into adulthood,” says Splinter Group Artistic Director Paul Budraitis, “and the fear the main character feels about the possibility of living the same kind of vapid, pedestrian life that he sees his parents living.  It is also about the pressure parents place on their kids to conform, to be ‘normal’, and the confusion that can ensue when young people resist that pressure.  Metaphorically, it is also about the cycle of birth and death, about creation and destruction, about the fire that can keep us alive just as easily as it can destroy us.”

Budraitis has done plenty of work in Europe himself, having earned his master’s degree in theatre directing under the mentorship of legendary theatre director Jonas Vaitkus at the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy in Vilnius, Lithuania.   
Locally, he directed the world premiere of Elizabeth Heffron’s "Bo-Nita" at Seattle Rep; and he created a new adaptation of Chekhov’s "Three Sisters", which he directed at Cornish College of the Arts in October 2014.  This fall, he has directed the remount of Cafe Nordo’s "Sauced" at their new home in Pioneer Square, as well as the world premiere of Emily Conbere’s "Knocking Bird", a co-production between SPLINTER GROUP and Umbrella Project, performed at West of Lenin in Fremont.

For this production of "Fireface", audiences will meet at a pickup location in Seattle and be driven to the site of the performance; afterwards, they will be returned to their original gathering place.  Of his decision to present the play in this setting, Budraitis says:

“First, we want the play to be relatable.  Though it was written in Germany in 1997, the themes and tone of the play still feel immediate and insightful, so we have done what we can to reinforce that by transferring the action of the play to present-day Seattle.  We want the audience to feel as though they know this family, or one just like it, and an important part of that is bringing them into a house like one they may have been in before.  Secondly, we want this production to have an intimacy and immediacy that transforms the performance from an ‘us (actors) and them (audience)’ experience, into a shared, ‘we’ experience.

“While I was in Lithuania, I was lucky enough to befriend and have the benefit of the mentorship of scenic designer and theatre visionary, Jūratė Paulėkaitė.  Jūratė died tragically four years ago, and in one of our last conversations, she told me that she believed this type of shared experience is the direction that theatre should go, towards intimacy and community; that an effort needed to be made to continue to erase the line between performers and their audience.  This production is in large part a tribute to her memory, so it is a clear choice for us to perform the play in this manner.”

Performances run from November 6-22, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 7:30 pm.  Ticket prices range from $5-$25 at the discretion of the ticket buyer, and can be purchased at .

The cast of "Fireface" includes:

CT Doescher ("The Seagull" and "Three Sisters", The Seagull Project
Colleen Carey (Gregory Award nominee, "All Through The Night", ArtsWest)
Skylar Tatro ("Trouble in Mind", Intiman Theatre Festival)
Matt Aguayo ("I Never Betrayed the Revolution" and "Demon Dreams", West of Lenin Theatre; "The Salesman is Dead and Gone", Splinter Group)
Kyle Anton Johnson ("The Gene Pool", Arouet; "The Salesman is Dead and Gone", Splinter Group)

For more information, please call: (312) 451-9921 or email:

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