Cast: Dado, Beata Pilch, Nicole Wiesner


Werner Schwab (February 4, 1958 – January 1, 1994) was an Austrian playwright and visual artist. First Ladies (Die Präsidentinnen) is Schwab’s first play. It premiered at the Theater im Künstlerhaus in Vienna in 1990. Between then and his death he wrote sixteen plays, eight of which were produced during his lifetime, making his career one of the briefest, most spectacular and most controversial in contemporary German-language theatre. Schwab’s style of writing provocatively makes use of grotesque imagery, distorted linguistic tone and bizarre plots. Trap Door’s last production of Schwab’s play was 2005’s award-winning production of People Annihilation or My Liver is Senseless directed by Tracy Letts.


Zeljko Djukic is the artistic director of Chicago’s critically acclaimed Tuta Theatre where he is known for “productions that combine the highest caliber artistic achievement with cogent social and cultural critique” (by Cheryl Black in Slavic and East European Performance). For Tuta, Djukic has directed numerous productions including Jeff nominated The Wedding by Bertolt Brecht. He also directed Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul at the National Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia.


First Ladies


Written by Werner Schwab

Translated by Michael Mitchell

Directed by Zeljko Djukic

March 10, 2011 – April 16, 2011


Joseph Jefferson Award forBest Actress in a Principal Role” – Nicole Wiesner


An evocative critique of modern family and religious life, The First Ladies examines what can happen when three unfulfilled women become possessed by their own fantasies. Guest director Zeljko Djukic brings his unique and vibrant voice to Trap Door with his staging of Werner Schwab’s devastatingly modern play that juxtaposes two worlds, the dream world and the low-class world, in order to tell and show us that happiness is impossible, even when dreaming. The play utilizes hyperrealism not to represent the naturalistic world, but to put the world in quotation marks and expose its exploitative nature and cruelty. With its sophisticated nuances in movement and speech, this riveting, highly poetic play poses exciting emotional demands for both actors and audience.

Assistant Director: Brad Gunter / Dramaturg: Milan Pribisic / Set Design: Ewelina Dobiesz / Lighting Design: Keith Parham / Costume Design: Nevena Todorovic / Sound Design: Sam Lewis / Stage Manager: Allison Raynes / Make-up Design: Zsofia Otvos / Properties: Karen Martorano / Graphic Design: Michal Janicki / Austrian Consultant: David Steiger