BY: Ken Prestininzi
DIRECTED BY: Kate Hendrickson

June 23, 2005 – July 30, 2005

“Fascinating AmeriKafka is deliciously messy! Excellent…inventive…a notable achievement,”
-Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune

“Alternately fierce and flamboyant … a blend of the dreamy and nightmarish, the spiritual and profane, the heartbreaking and the soul-searching, the transcendent and the vulgar–with some hilarious X-rated puppetry too–it is a theatrical piece that captures both the mystery and tragicomedy of Kafka’s real and imaginary worlds.”
-Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times

“A remarkably deep portrait…Kate Hendrickson’s production balances the play’s wild imagination and it’s passionate exploration of Kafka’s life… Compelling, physically dynamic performances… Hilarious and heartbreaking…brilliant!”
-John Beer, New City

“Fornicating puppets!”
-Novid Parsi, Time Out Chicago

CAST: Tom Bateman, Mary Jo Bolduc, Marzenna Bukowska, Nicole Cardano, K.K. Dodds, Tien Doman, John Gray, Emily Lotspeich, Jason Powers, Holly Thomas, Nicolai Todorov, Scott Unes and Betsy Zajko.

K.K. Dodd’s performance ranked in Chris Jones’ “Top 10 performances of 2005”

Shane Oman
Genevra Gallo
Kevin O’Donnell
Richard Norwood
Ewelina Dobiesz
Bob Rokos
Jana Anderson
Sarah Bendix
Jonathon Nininger


One night in 1912 Franz Kafka went to the theatre and saw a traveling Yiddish Theatre troupe. Their approach to performance and narrative intoxicated him with its unabashed belief in possibilities, possibilities made up of pleasures, passion and pain.  The encounter led Kafka to produce an evening of Yiddish Theatre performed by Kafka’s new friend and soulmate Itzhak Löwy.  The surrealist comedy AmeriKafka repeats and rehearses this  emotional tumble in Kafka’s pysche as he tries to unify all the unfinished business of his life at the moment of his Death.

About the Playwright:
Playwright/director/dramaturg Ken Prestininzi’s work has been performed in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and in the Czech Republic, England, Mexico, and Scotland. His existential extravaganza play, AmeriKafka, was produced by Trap Door, under the direction of Kate Hendrickson, in 2005. He is also the author of the musicals Favorite of the King, Pe’er Flynt, and Ariadne and the plays The Burger Girl Jingle, The Hole, and Kept. An active force in new play development in San Francisco in the 1990’s, Ken is currently based in Rhode Island and will soon be moving to New Haven, Connecticut. In October, his play As American As will premiere in Washington, D.C. He has an MFA from the University of Iowa and is currently a Ph.D candidate (ABD) at Brown University in theatre and performance studies where he co-produced the Performance Studies international conference 2005. He is Associate Artistic Director of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre. He has been a director and dramaturg for many of the MFA playwrights in Paula Vogel’s master program at Brown and ART and has developed and directed work by Jennifer Hayley, Quiara Alegria Hudes, and Peter and Paula Vogel. He has taught playwriting at Intersection for the Arts and American Conservatory Theatre and has also directed the playwriting program for the Literary Arts International in Prague and Mexico City. His work has been honored with awards from ACTF, the California Council of the Arts, Djerassi Arts Colony, National Endowment of the Humanities, Northwestern University, Rockefeller Foundation, San Francisco Cultural Equity Office, Shenandoah Arts, and the University of Iowa. He can be reached at

About the Director:

Kate Hendrickson  is a resident director at Trap Door Theatre where her particular focus is on premiering new plays by radical American playwrights. She has developed and sustained long-term collaborative relationships with several playwrights, steering multiple world premiere productions to critical and popular success. Together with Margraff and the Trap Door ensemble Hendrickson created ANGER/FLY which was recognized in the Chicago Reader “Best Of” edition as part of a Trap Door season presenting the “best string of theatrical stunners.” Other Trap Door credits include Cookie Play, Chaste and Beholder (Jeff Award for Best New Work, After Dark Award for Best Original Music), by Ken Prestininzi. Chaste received “Best of the Year” nods in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Stage Review, and the Huffington Post. Kate also directed Midwest premieres of Prestininzi’s AmeriKafka, Howard Zinn’s Emma (After Dark Award for Best Ensemble), and  12 Ophelias by Caridad Svich.