Cast: Holly Cerney, Emily Lotspeich, Miguel Long, David Lovejoy, Laura Nelson, Emily Nichelson, Tia Pinson, Keith Surney, and Bob Wilson.
Dorota Masłowska (Playwright) (b. 1983) is one of the most renowned Polish writers and playwrights. Her first novel translated into English as Snow White and Russian Red, was published while she was still a teenager and made her an instant literary sensation in her native country. The novel detailed the growing pains of marginalized small-town youth. In 2005, Masłowska published her second book, The Queen’s Peacock, a 150 page rap poem in prose. Both of these books were adapted for the stage in Poland, Germany and Great Britain. Masłowska wrote her first play, A Couple of Poor-Polish Speaking Romanians, in 2006 (Staged by Trap Door in 2009) and her second one, No Matter How Hard We Try, or We Can Exist on the Best Terms We Can, in 2008. In 2012, Masłowska published another novel, Honey, I Killed our Cats, and in 2014 released her first music album, The Society is Mean, a mixture of punk, rap and dance music with lyrics commenting on current social issues. Masłowska’s writing is characterized by her ironic, pessimistic worldview and extraordinary linguistic power; as a postmodern writer she confronts, disturbs and subverts sacred ideas of selfhood and nationhood.
Paweł Świątek (Director) graduated from the directing department of the Kraków Drama School in Poland. He was a student of Kristian Lupa’s and worked as an assistant with influential European directors, among them Renne Pollesch and Maja Kleczewska. Over 30 of the plays Paweł has directed have taken part in important international festivals like ‘Divine Comedy’ in Krakow, and ‘Warsaw Theatre Meeting’. He usually directs classical plays or contemporary adaptations of novels. Paweł is a multiple minister’s scholarship recipient. For the last ten years, he has directed in the most notable theaters in Poland: National Old Theatre (Paw Królowej/Queen Peacock, Gyubal Wahazar), Słowacki’s Theatre (Wojna Polsko-Ruska/Polish-Russsian War, Botticelli), Szaniawski’s Theatre in Wałbrzych (Historical play: Narutowicz), Jaracza Theatre in Łódź (Książę Niezłomny/Steadfast Prince), Kochanowski’s Theatre in Opole (Sen Nocy Letniej/Midsummer Night’s Dream‚ Szczęśliwe Dni/Happy Days) Impresario Theatre (Cappella Cracoviensis), and IMKA Theatre. Since 2017 Paweł has been a member of the Underground Theatre Wrocław Artistic Council. He prepared with Wrocław’s group an interactive performance based on Nicole Machiavelli entitled “Prince”. He has also participated in international projects in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Essen.
Bowie in Warsaw
Written by Dorota Masłowska
Translated by Soren Gauger
Directed by Paweł Świątek
May 18 – July 1, 2023
Please note there will be no performances on the weekend of June 1st-3rd. Bowie in Warsaw has been invited by the NY Polish Cultural Institute to perform at the Rehearsal for Truth Festival in New York City and JCTC in New Jersey. For tickets to the Rehearsal for Truth Festival in New York City, visit: https://www.rehearsalfortruth.org/
Bowie in Warsaw is generously sponsored by Regina Bowgierd and John Kulczycki.
The women of Warsaw tremble with the rumor of a strangler on the prowl… Set in the landscape of a true crime story from 1970’s Poland, Bowie In Warsaw is an absurd comedy about the repression of self expression and love in a Soviet era Poland. Playwright Dorota Masłowska creates an atomic-era Polish landscape, which might even inspire a visit from David Bowie himself.
Trap Door is honored to invite Polish director Paweł Świątek to direct our third Dorota Masłowska play after our successful productions of A Couple of Poor Polish Speaking Romanians and No Matter How Hard We Try. Dorota Masłowska is one of Poland’s most exciting and influential young novelists and playwrights. Dorota Masłowska joined Trap Door for a post show discussion on Saturday, May 20th.
What I really appreciate about Trapdoor Theatre’s latest production, “Bowie in Warsaw,” and about the company in general, is how the work gives the audience free rein to use its imagination to fill in the blanks left by the production’s absurdist nature; an attendee hoping to be spoon-fed every detail will find the Trapdoor experience exhausting and meandering. But if you want a meal made of only dessert, then go watch a Marvel movie.
Tristan Bruns, New City Chicago
Świątek’s direction is just what is needed for this fast-paced story with its many threads. The cast is excellent and Rachel Sypniewski’s colorful costumes—including the deep pink square-heeled boots that all the actors wear—create visual excitement on the severely designed set (by Merje Veski).
Nancy Bishop, Third Coast Review
The effect is a kind of enveloping full-body testimony of emotional truths over mere plot points. The talented ensemble seamlessly shifts roles and scenes to build a portrait of a crumbling community.
Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader
The acting is great, and the directing by Pawel Świątek is fantastic.
W. Rath, Around the Town Chicago
…an example of Trap Door Theatre’s ability to stage the work of Eastern European playwrights with Chicago style and its own peculiar brand of eccentricity… Bowie in Warsaw is a dark comedy that will puzzle and delight you.
Nancy Bishop, Third Coast Review
Stage Manager: Anna Klos / Scenic Design: Merje Veski / Lighting Design: Richard Norwood / Costume Design: Rachel Sypniewski / Original Music and Sound Design: Danny Rockett/ Make up and Hair Design: Syd Genco / Dramaturgy: Milan Pribisic / Dramaturgy Intern: Emily Townley / Production Assistant: Tom McLees / Graphic Design: Michal Janicki