The Balcony

Written by Jean Genet

Translated by Bernard Frechtman

Directed by Max Truax

September 5 – October 12, 2013


– New City, CenterStage, ChicagoCritic

“With The Balcony, Trap Door continues its long tradition of presenting mature, challenging political theatre for discerning audiences”

– Dan Jakes, TIMEOUT Chicago

“If you enjoy your existentialism with a side of tawdry humor, this Balcony has the perfect seat for you.”

– Katy Walsh, Chicago Theatre Beat

    Cast: Antonio Brunetti, Simina Contras, David A. Holcombe, John Kahara, Meghan Lewis, Michelle Oliver, Thom Pasculli, Alžan Pelesic, Ann Sonneville, David Steiger, Nicole Wiesner, and Carl Wisniewski.

Set in a brothel during a bloody revolution, The Balcony is Genet’s examination of the artifice of authority. Madame Irma’s brothel specializes in providing fetish scenarios for clients who seek the erotic pleasures of playing government icons without having to bear the burden of their functions. Irma’s domineering and manipulative leadership of the brothel has bred an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust that lives in secret exchanges behind the padded doors of the brothel’s studios. When the real revolution disrupts the sanctity of the brothel’s fantasies, and the real figures of government go missing, Irma and the Chief of Police must work together to devise a grand scenario that will preserve the status quo while immortalizing them both forever. Unexpected consequences arise when reality finally penetrates the web of their elaborate fantasy.

Jean Genet (playwright) 19 December 1910 – 15 April 1986) was a prominent and controversial French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Genet’s mother was a prostitute who raised him for a year before giving him up for adoption. In and out of prison for much of his early life, he was a vagabond, petty criminal, and prostitute – experiences which informed much of his writing. His major works include the novels Querelle of Brest, The Thief’s Journal, and Our Lady of the Flowers, and the plays The Balcony, The Blacks, The Maids and The Screens.

Max Truax (Director) is a Resident Director at Trap Door, where he has directed several productions, including They Are Dying Out, A Couple of Poor  Polish-Speaking Romanians, No Darkness Round My Stone, and an operatic interpretation of Hamletmachine. His production of A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians performed at the Fun Underground Festival in Arad, Romania and at the Bagatela Theatre in Krakow, Poland. He recently directed A Dream Play at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for the University of Illinois.   Max is also Artistic Director at Oracle Theatre, where he has directed several productions, including The Mother, The Sandman, Woyzeck, The Ghost Sonata, and Termen Vox Machina. Other Chicago directing credits include Brand (Red Tape Theatre) and In the Jungle of Cities (Ka Tet Theatre).  Max studied visual art, performance art, and post-modern choreography at Oberlin College and received his MFA in Theatre Directing from California Institute of the Arts.

Assistant Director Laura Smith /Set Designer Joanna Iwanicki / Costume Designer Rachel Sypniewski/ Lighting Designer Richard Norwood /Sound Design Danny Rockett / Make-Up Design Zsofia Ötvos / Graphic Design Michal Janicki