The Crazy Locomotive

Written by Stanisław I. Witkiewicz

Translated by Daniel C. Gerould

Directed by Beata Pilch

Chicago Remount: September 2005

The New York International Fringe Festival: August 2005

Romanian Tour: May 2007

Beata and Carl

Chicago/NY Cast: John Gray, John Kahara, Beata Pilch, Carolyn Shoemaker, Nicole Wiesner and Carl Wisniewski

Romania Cast: John Gray, Noah Durham, Beata Pilch, Kim McKean, Greg Beam

Assistant Director: Andrew Krukowski
Set Design: Ewelina Dobiesz
Lighting Design: Richard Norwood
Sound Design: Anna Czerwinski
Film Design: Carrie Holt de Lama
Costume Design: Beata Pilch

“It’s a buffoonish, perverse, assaultive, and exhilarating ride, just the kind Witkiewicz must have envisioned.”
– Justin Hayford, The Chicago Reader


“Witkiewicz nicely unplugged… few American theaters are willing to risk doing his work… it seems like Trap Door only has the guts.”

– Chris Jones,The Chicago Tribune

The Crazy Locomotive is a multi-media superparody – of the worship of the machine and of the new arts of technology: futurism and cinema.

A band of degenerate criminals and artists commandeer an engine and seek to bring about God’s judgment by racing at apocalyptic speeds into an oncoming passenger train.

This is your brain on Witkiewicz.


Stanislaw I. Witkiewicz was a Polish poet, painter, playwright, novelist, photographer, expert on drugs, and philosopher. He is one of the most brilliant figures of the European avant-garde. A consummate artist who incessantly crossed disciplinary boundaries, he experimented widely in photography, painting and drawing, theatre, philosophy, and fiction between WWI and WWII. Among his most well-known works are the transgressive novel Insatiability, his 1933 work Narkotyka comprised of surrealistic portraits and drawings created and written under the influence of a wide array of narcotics (work which predated similar experiments by Michaux among others), his fractured photographic self-portraits using mirrors and his plays The Madman and the Nun, The Water Hen, The Mother, The Anonymous Work, and The Shoemakers. Witkiewicz committed suicide shortly after the outbreak of war in September of 1939.


Beata Pilch founded Trap Door Theatre in 1994. Originally from Chicago, she holds a BFA in Acting from the United States International University in San Diego and a MFA in Acting from California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. She had the honor to graduate as a magna cum laude from both universities and was later awarded the Prestigious Alumni award from CalArts. Pilch found Chicago’s Trap Door Theatre in 1994 and still presides as its Artistic Director. She has directed and performed in over 80 Trap Door productions and has toured abroad annually with the company to France, Romania, Hungary, Poland and was the first US theatre company ever to perform in the Republic of Moldova. In 2015, Beata created a sister company, Trap Door International, which produces out of Barcelona, Spain.