Written by Stanislaw I. Witkiewicz

Translated by Daniel C. Gerould

Directed by Sean Marlow and Beata Pilch

CAST: Sean Marlow, Beata Pilch, Su Sazama, Kristie Hassinger, Ellen Mills, Chris Demaria, Matt Pavich, Dan Slyman, Robert Blonski, Sarah Taylor

LIGHTING DESIGN: Richard Norwood
COSTUME DESIGN: Sean Marlow and Beata Pilch
SET DESIGN: Sean Marlow and Beata Pilch
STAGE MANAGER: Elizabeth J. Bobbe, Cynthia Childs

With “The Mother”, Trap Door has reached a new level of stylistic maturity, conquering one of the modern era’s most difficult plays without reducing its complexity, ugliness, or tedium. This is an especially impressive feat considering the paucity of resources the Trap Door folks have at their disposal.”
– Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader

The Mother is a portrayal of a sick bourgeois world whose most shameful and hidden secrets are mercilessly exposed. The close relationship between mother and son, the dead father who haunts the family from beyond the grave, the revelation of the shameful truth about the father, and the discovery of the hidden kinship between father and son. The whole society is a society of bloodsuckers, who cannot even find sustenance by drinking others’ blood.


Stanisław 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 Chicago’s Trap Door Theatre in 1994 and still presides as its Artistic Director. 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. 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.

Sean Marlow was the co-founder of the Trap Door Theatre. Originally from Atlanta, GA, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from U.S. International University in San Diego, CA. and continued with his graduate studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In the early years of Trap Door, he has acted, directed and designed over a dozen shows.

Opened: April 1998