Written by Howard Zinn

Directed by Kate Hendrickson

Co-directed by Shane Oman

This production was recommended for a Joseph Jefferson Award.

October 18 – December 1, 2007

A fascinating look at the life of Emma Goldman, the anarchist, feminist, and free-spirited thinker who was exiled from the United States because of her outspoken views.

Cast: David Bettino, Kevin Cox, Gary Damico, Géraldine Dulex, Noah Durham, Jen Ellison, Carolyn Hoerdeman, Jason Huysman, John Kahara and Beata Pilch

SET DESIGNER: Ewelina Dobiesz


Howard Zinn was an American historian, playwright, and socialist. Zinn described himself as “something of an anarchist, something of a socialist”. He is most famous for his book A People’s History of the United States. He has written such plays as Emma and Marx in Soho.


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.

“A fervently committed ensemble, a crackling pace and an Emma who radiates power and charisma combine to create a rip-roaring, balls-to-the-the-walls production.”

– URChicago magazine


“Step outside of the political comfort zone of complacency and the entertainment comfort zone of escapism and enter the aesthetically vital zone of confrontational creativity and contemporary consequence. Trap Door’s beguiling production of Emma proves that historical eye and ear candy can be emotionally delicious as well as fundamentally nutritious. This is one of those “here’s something you’ve been missing” experiences that will inspire you to look at the topic and your world with a greater degree of scrutiny and passion. Do not miss this critically compelling theatrical triumph. (****)”

– Gay Chicago Magazine

“Trap Door Theatre’s interpretation of Emma, Howard Zinn’s portrayal of a captivating radical, succeeds phenomenally in the company’s mission statement of bringing life to difficult stage text… beautifully choreographed, fast-paced scenes, ingenious use of props and space, well-chosen music by the Sex Pistols, Gil Scott- Heron and Jewel, and a DIY black-box ethos that informs the message and elevates it, even frees it, from the script. Vibrant, even electrifying acting across the board, with a particularly dazzling Beata Pilch as Emma.”

– Newcity Chicago

Benefit for Planned Parenthood!

In honor of the life, spirit and work of Emma Goldman, Trap Door Theatre donated all the proceeds from our October 26 performance of Emma to Chicago Area Planned Parenthood.