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, The Chicago Reader

The Mother is a portrayal of a sick bourgeois world whose most shameful and hidden secrets are mercilessly exposed.

The Mother: Incest, 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 great visionary social prophet, Leon, is a sick, neurotic son, abnormally attached to his mother and full of childish love and hatred for her.

The Mother: a drama a la Strindberg with deformed fragments of Ibsen transposed into a Witkac-ian dimension, like pieces of a naturalistic portrait included within a surrealist painting.

The whole society is a society of bloodsuckers, who cannot even find sustenance by drinking others’ blood.


Stanislaw I. Witkiewicz: One of the most brilliant figures of European avant-garde, poet, painter, playwright, and an expert on drugs, Witkiewicz was an original philosopher and social critic of mass culture, post industrial society, and the rise of totalitarianism, as well as an early spokesman for a radically non-realistic theatre. He was also a pioneer in serious experimentation with narcotics. Witkiewicz first used drugs in Russia immediately before the revolution and prophetically recognized the growing importance which they would have in Western civilization. He saw the cult of narcotics as part of a desperate attempt to find meaning in a world that has lost all its color and strangeness and was growing more and more mechanized and inhuman. Politics, revolution, and even art were for Witkacy similar “drugs” offering modern man only temporary escape from the horror of existence. He killed himself shortly after the outbreak of war in September, 1939. Witkiewicz is known for other works such as: The Mother, The Madman and the Nun, The Water Hen, and The Anonymous Work.

Opened: April 1998