Cast: Venice Averyheart, Alexis DawTyne, Catrina Evans, Miguel Long, Emily Lotspeich, Laura Nelson, Emily Nichelson, Steven Schaeffer, and Keith Surney.
Heiner Müller (Playwright) was one of the most important playwrights of the twentieth century European theater; he was also one of the most controversial and outspoken artists of his time. He was born in 1929 in Saxony, a state in eastern Germany and, apart from writing plays and directing shows, he was a journalist, critic, poet, and philosopher. He received many literary prizes including the Lessing Prize, Germany’s highest literary honor. Müller’s work emerged from the rubble of postwar Europe and its political and economic decay. The division of Germany, the Cold War, and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 were important events that contributed to his literary oeuvre. His theatrical models include the ancient Greek tragedians, Shakespeare, and Brecht, but he will be best remembered as the creator of the post-dramatic, non-linear, image-driven synthetic fragment intended to disintegrate the “fourth wall.” Müller’s themes concern human beings in a state of flux due to sociopolitical displacement and, like Brecht, he wanted his audience to ponder and, if necessary, to choose. His best-known plays are Cement (1972), The Hamletmachine (1977), The Mission (1979), Quartet (1981), Medea Material (1982) and Death Destruction Detroit II (1987). Müller died in 1995.
Max Truax (he/him/his) has been a Resident Director at Trap Door since 2008. For Trap Door, he has directed many critically acclaimed productions, including No Matter How Hard We Try, The Balcony, They Are Dying Out, A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians, and No Darkness Round My Stone. His production of A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians went on to perform in both Poland and Romania. He also directed Trap Door’s 2011 production of Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine, which he conceived as an opera in collaboration with composer Jonathan Guillen. Max served as Artistic Director for Oracle Productions from 2011 to 2016, where he directed No Beast So Fierce, The President, The Mother, Woyzeck, Ghost Sonata, and Termen Vox Machina. His production of The Mother received 7 Jeff Awards, including awards for “Best Production”, “Best Adaptation”, and “Best Ensemble”. In addition to Chicago, Max has directed for multiple stages in Los Angeles and at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He studied visual art, performance art, and choreography at Oberlin College and he received his MFA in theater directing from California Institute of the Arts. Max currently serves as Artistic Director for Red Tape Theatre.
Written by Heiner Müller
Translated and Adapted by Sarah Tolan-Mee
Directed by Max Truax
Music Composed by Jonathan Guillen
May 5 – June 5, 2022
With added two weeks June 23-July 2
Resident Director Max Truax returns to Trap Door to direct another Heiner Müller piece, after his triumphant production of Hamletmachine, which “calculated chaos and mastered madness with purpose, conviction, theatrical artistry, and artistic integrity.” Medea Material explores the story of Euridepes’ Medea and its surrounding mythology, and will engage Müller’s poetry and complex intersectionality in a dancetheatre spectacle.
Under Max Truax’s able direction, this group of actors makes often complicated feelings utterly palpable. I don’t know how they did that and don’t want to ask, but I’m grateful to them for working their dark magic. – – Highly Recommended
Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader
It is an intellectual work as much as a kinetic one, and at 70 minutes with no intermission, leaves lots of time for a post show conversation with any fellow witnesses.
Angela Allyn, Chicago Stage and Screen
Michael Griggs’ minimalist concept provides endless mileage, and its use culminates in one of the most truly unnerving climaxes of the year. – Highly Recommended
Nathaniel Fishburn, New City Stage
…the kind of abstract media experience that can only be found in live theatre. – Highly Recommended
Jacob Davis, Around the Town
…the play undeniably, effectively, creates viscerally uncomfortable and beautiful sensations in the audience to turn myth into a waking dream. – Highly Recommened
Nathaniel Fishburn, NewCity Stage
Assistant Director and Choreography: Claire Bauman / Set Designer: J. Michael Griggs / Lighting Designer: Hannah Wein / Music Composer: Jonathan Guillen / Costume Designer: Rachel Sypniewski / Sound Designer: Danny Rockett / Make-up Designer: Zsofia Otvos / Graphic Designer: Michal Janicki / Stage Manager: Audrey Ney / Assistant Stage Manager: Shannon Rourke