Written by Ruth Margraff
Directed by Kate Hendrickson
Opened May 2012
    Inspired by an eight-page film scenario written by Eugene Ionesco, ANGER/FLY deconstructs and expands the story of a perfect little town that erupts in a violent riot set off when all the husbands simultaneously find flies in their soup. The piece is a dark absurdist comedy that explores a tramp as gypsy, communism as cyclical utopian apocalypse, and marriage as manic ritual. The adaptation utilizes the contrived innocence of bubblegum pop, the exaggerated expressionism of silent film, and the rolling cadence of player piano ragtime rhythms. Ionesco’s original film scenario, entitled La Colère (Anger) is written in short narrative form. It begins with happy townfolk coming out of church one sunny spring morning and ends with the destruction of the world. Throughout the action, a “lady television announcer” calmly broadcasts good news. ANGER/FLY translates this montage into a hysterically visceral live performance event. The multi-layered piece was adapted and devised by playwright Ruth Margraff, with director Kate Hendrickson and the Trap Door ensemble, through a uniquely collaborative process that delved into cubist points of view, Ionesco’s use of language, his themes of social estrangement and the absurdly farcical tone of his work.

Cast: Tiffany Bedwell, Antonio Brunetti, Casey Chapman, Anya Clingman, David A. Holcombe, Emily Lotspeich, Maria Stephens, David Steiger, Bob Wilson



Ruth Margraff is an American playwright, librettist, lyricist, and performer. She has been called a leader in America’s avant-garde for her audaciously original use of language as poetic and vocal art. She is best known in Chicago for her critically acclaimed ANGER/FLY with Trap Door Theatre. She has also written such plays as Night Wind from Afghanistan, SEVEN, and Previously Blue.


Ken Prestininzi is an American playwright, director, and dramaturg. He is Associate Artistic Director of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre. His existential extravaganza play, AmeriKafka, was produced by Trap Door Theatre. He is also the author of the musicals Favorite of the King, Pe’er Flynt, and Ariadne as well as the plays The Burger Girl Jingle, The Hole, and Kept. Prestininzi began working with Hendrickson in the early 1990s when Hendrickson commissioned Prestininzi to write The Hole, a new play inspired by Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground. They’ve sustained their collaborative relationship for over 15 years, and under the auspices of Trap Door Theatre, it is thriving. In their work, Hendrickson and Prestininzi spark each other to make precise leaps of imagination, intellect and emotion in order to invite and instigate palpable human connections with the theatrical choices they make. Together they form a director/playwright team of shared reverie, theatrical vision and the belief in the persuasion of intimacy and commitment.


Kate Hendrickson is a resident director at Trap Door and has developed and sustained long-term collaborative relationships with several playwrights, steering multiple world premiere productions to critical and popular success. Together with Ruth Margraff and the Trap Door ensemble, she 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 and Chaste and Beholder (Jeff Award for “Best New Work”, After Dark Award for “Best Original Music”). Chaste received “Best of the Year” nods in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Stage Review, and the Huffington Post. Hendrickson also directed Midwest premieres of Prestininzi’s AmeriKafka, Howard Zinn’s Emma (After Dark Award for “Best Ensemble”), and 12 Ophelias by Caridad Svich.

Set Designer: Mike Mroch / Lighting Designer: Richard Norwood / Costume Designer: Tonette Navarro / Makeup Designer: Zsofia Otvos / Video & Graphic Designer: Michal Janicki / Sound Designer: Mikey Moran / Choreographer: Lyndsay Rose Kane / Fight Choreographer: Mathias Maloff / Musical Director & Arranger: Nicholas Tonozzi / Incidental Music Composer: Nikos Brisco / Stage Manager: Anna Badenoch Eisenbraun / Assistant Stage Manager: Skye Fort / Production Manager: Allison Raynes / Recording Engineer: Robert Eisenbraun

This program is partially supported by an Artist Project grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.