Cast: Cat Evans, Bill Gordon, Joan Nahid, Laura Nelson, Manuela Rentea, Keith Surney, Gus Thomas, Kevin Webb, and Robert Wilson.
Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969) was a Polish novelist, story writer and dramatist best known for his absurdist satires like his novel Ferdydurke (1937). Gombrowicz spent 24 years in voluntary exile in Argentine. He returned to Europe in 1963, only to settle down in Paris, France instead of his native Poland. During his life, Gombrowicz’s work was banned in turn by the Nazis, the Stalinists, and the Polish government. The main themes in Gombrowicz’s writing include human innate immaturity, our false knowledge, and the individual’s co- existence with others. Among his best-known works are his plays Ivona, Princess of Burgundia (1938), The Marriage (1953), Operetta (1966) and History (1975), the novels Trans-Atlantic (1953), Pornography (1960) and Cosmos (1965), and the three volumes of his Diary (1957-1966).
Jenny Beacraft (she, her, hers) is based in Barcelona, Spain where she has worked as a director, devisor and actress for the past 15 years. Her work has taken her to many cities around Europe in Catalan, Spanish, English and French. Luxembourg is her second artistic home where she most recently directed Footnotes at the National Theatre and Esch Theatre. She is a member of Teatre de l’Enjòlit, a Catalan theater company in Barcelona where she has participated in numerous projects, the most recent being a new piece about fascism in Spain called Con mi brazo en alto te saludo. Upcoming works this year include performing in The Writer (Téâtre des Capucins, Luxembourg) and later in Tots els dies arriben (Teatre Gaudi, Barcelona). Jenny has participated in several Trap Door international productions and is happy to return to Chicago, where she grew up, to work with the Trap Door Chicago team.
Written by Witold Gombrowicz
Translated by Krystyna Griffith-Jones & Catherine Robins
Directed by Guest Director from Spain Jenny Beacraft
January 12 – February 19, 2023
Princess Ivona is a meditation on status, cruelty, and desire, confronting ideas of personal identity, and the failure of existing value systems. Ivona, a woman of few words, is forcibly entangled into the intrigues of a dysfunctional royal court after she becomes engaged to Prince Phillip. Her silence soon drives the courtiers to the brink of madness, bringing out their worst vices. Originally from Chicago, Jenny Beacraft returns from Spain to direct this Gombrowicz piece.
With drop dead hilarity and perfect comic timing you will watch this horrific tale and laugh all the way along, which is another indictment–this one of our own complicity in the systems of oppression that we participate in every day. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Angela Allyn, Chicago Stage and Screen
Princess Ivona inspires Trap Door Theatre to show us what it does best: Take a clever script and turn it into a carnival with exaggerated style and physical performance, while remaining true to the playwright’s original concept. HIGHLY RECOMENEDED
Nancy Bishop, Third Coast Review
…the skill and all-in performance of this amazing ensemble of actors…
And have I not mentioned this cast is hysterically funny?
Angela Allyn, Chicago Stage and Screen
…While rarely speaking, Ivona has an ironclad will and an unerring instinct to do the opposite of what is expected of her…She’s a chaos agent they all want to snuff out for individual motives, but every plot is a threat to all the others. It’s a mess and that’s the point. Recommended.
Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader
Overall, with a brilliant cast (who are naturally funny) and wonderfully colorful stage designs, Jenny Beacraft’s Princess Ivona offers an unexpectedly tender—thus almost redemptive—rendition that both invites meditation upon and serves to counteract the brutality and darkness intrinsic to the original script.
Susanna Sun, The Theatre Times
…the title character’s brief bit of truth-telling is zeroed in to make reviving this wacky tragedy of Princess Ivona into a timeless meditation on abusive power in any era.
Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
Set Design: J. Michael Griggs / Lighting Design: Richard Norwood / Costume Design: Rachel Sypniewski / Original Music and Sound Design: Przemysław Bosak / Make-Up Design: Syd Genco / Graphic Design: Michal Janicki / Dramaturg: Milan Pribisic / Stage Manager: Tyler Hughes / Assistant Director: Micah Mabey / Swings: Emily Nichelson and Joseph Jenkins