Directed by Matei Visniec

Translated by Alison Sinclair
Directed by Gregory A. Fortner
Opened: November 2005
With Performances in Chicago, New York, and Romania

“Trap Door Theatre is the perfect company to engage in such an otherworldly examination of emotional contrasts. Director Gregory A. Fortner compiles a wonderful design team and a startling cast. His intelligent direction is captivating, and the other performances are intense, complex, and as whimsical as they are dead serious.”
– Venus Zarris, Gay Chicago Magazine

“There’s nowhere to hide in Trap Door’s black box, and the universally sharp cast doesn’t waste a breath or a twitch.”
-John Beer, Time Out Chicago

CAST: Circus-Szalewski, John Gray, and Bob Wilson

SET DESIGN: Ewelina Dobiesz
LIGHTING DESIGN: Richard Norwood
STAGE MANAGER: Kate Piatt-Eckert

Old Clown Wanted…
…Three aging clowns compete for a job in this absurdly comic look at man’s fear of uselessness in society….Dying is easy, comedy is hard.

Playwright, poet and journalist, Matei Visniec was born in Romania, and is now settled in Paris, working as a journalist at Radio France Internationale. In Romania he studied history and philosophy before starting writing for the theatre in 1977. During the following ten years he wrote some 20 plays, but all of them were banned by the Romanian censors. In 1987 he was invited to France by a literary foundation, and he asked for political asylum. Since then he has been writing mostly in French, and he has received French nationality. After the fall of communism in Romania, in 1989, Matei Visniec became one of the most performed playwrights in the country, with more then 30 plays put on in Bucharest and other towns. In 1996 the National Theatre of Timisoara organized a Matei Visniec Festival with 12 companies presenting his plays. His international audience as a playwright started in 1992, with the play Horses at the Windows performed in France, and Old Clown Wanted at the “Bonner Biennale”. Since then, Matei Visniec has had more then 20 plays performed in France.

Having already directed numerous plays and operas throughout the United States and South America, Gregory A. Fortner is quickly emerging as an important young director. Previous engagements include directing Faust and Don Giovanni with Toledo Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor with Palm Beach Opera, Carmen with Opera Carolina, Il Trovatore for Opera do Meia Dia at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, a debut with Anchorage Opera for Don Giovanni, directing Madame Butterfly with Michigan Opera Theatre, as well as two new productions of the children operas Princess and the Pea and Little Red Riding Hood for Opera Pacific. Upcoming engagements include a return to Toledo Opera to direct a gala performance of I Pagliacci. He is currently working with Sir Peter Hall on A Mid-Summer Marriage for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as a stadium production of Verdi’s Aida for Mumbai, India. Mr. Fortner received a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan with a concentration on vocal performance and Italian language. He also worked as a production assistant on the Academy Award winning Documentary film, Bowling for Columbine with legendary filmmaker Michael Moore, and has worked as an Associate Producer for videos and commercials with HKO Media.


HERE Arts Center
145 6th Ave (between Spring & Bloome)
For Ticket & Information: 212/868-4444 or www.here.org

This production was presented through HERE’s Supported Artist Program, which provides artists with subsidized space, as well as technical and administrative support.

This performance is a part of Act French: A Season of New Theater from France. Six months of intriguing ideas and performances from the front lines of French culture in adventurous theaters in New York,
July 15 – Dec 15, 2005, www.actfrench.org

Act French is made possible by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, Association Francaise d’Action Artistique (AFAA), The French Ministry of Culture and Communication, FACE (French American Cultural Exchange), Etant donns: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts. Generous Support provided by PLAYBILL, the Berlys Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation

This production is partially sponsored by
Etant Donnes: The French American Fund for the Performing Arts, a program of FACE