Cast: Venice Averyheart, Caleb Jenkins, David Lovejoy, Manuela Rentea, Hannah Silverman, Keith Surney, and Kevin Webb.


Stanislaw I. Witkiewicz (1885-1939) is one the most brilliant figures of the European avant-garde. Witkiewicz was a poet, painter, playwright, an expert on drugs, an early spokesman for a radically non-realistic theatre and an original philosopher and social critic of mass culture, post-industrial society, and the rise of totalitarianism. He was also a pioneer in serious experimentation with narcotics and prophetically recognized the growing importance that they would have on Western civilization. Politics, revolution, and even art were similar “drugs.” Witkiewicz committed suicide shortly after the outbreak of War in September of 1939. He is best known for his plays The Madman and the Nun, The Mother, The Water Hen, The Anonymous Work, and The Shoemakers.


Zeljko Djukic studied at the Belgrade Drama Arts School and the University of Maryland at College Park. He is the founder of the TUTA Theatre company. Among many productions he directed are The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter, Baal and The Wedding by Bertolt Brecht, Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov, First Ladies by Werner Schwab, and Judith: A Parting from the Body by Howard Barker. In 2009 he directed Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul at National Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia. He is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholar Award for 2013. He currently teaches acting at the Academy of the Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.

Stage Manager: Kayci Johnston / Stage Manager: Kasia Olechno / Costume Design: Natasha Djukic / Lighting Design: Richard Norwood / Set Design: Natasha Djukic / Master Carpenter: Chirs Popio / Sound Design: Danny Rockett / Music Composition: Natasha Bogojevic / Prop Design: Merje Veski / Sewing Assistant: Emily Nichelson / Movement Consultant: Miguel Long / Graphic Design: Michal Janicki / Dramaturg: Milan Pribisic

The Pragmatists


Written by Stanislaw I. Witkiewicz

Translated by Daniel Gerould

Adapted by Adam Ranđelović

Directed by Zeljko Djukic

September 21 – October 28, 2023


Runs: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Admission: $30 with two for one admission on Thursdays.

Where: Trap Door Theatre is located at 1655 W. Cortland St.

In a setting that is at the same time a torture chamber, a chamber of the heart, and a chamber for a virtuoso recital, two former friends struggle for domination in an existential conflict. They share the same dilemmas, the same collapsing world, the same despair; they are “pragmatists” because instead of facing the ultimate mystery of existence, they attempt to find pain-killing evasions, which dooms them to live the past over again while experiencing the future in advance.

After his previous directing triumphs of First Ladies and Judith: A Parting from the Body, TUTA founding Artistic Director Zeljko Djukic returns from Serbia to Trap Door to direct Witkiewicz’s first ever published piece.

Special Event Performance: On Saturday, October 7th, Trap Door will host a performance of The Pragmatists followed by a special Talk Back with director Zeljko Djukic, the actors, and other artists who worked on the production. Wine and cheese will be served after the performance. Tickets are $35.


Group tickets: Special group rates are available. For information, call (773) 384-0494 or email

Please note: our Thursday 2-for-1 deal does not apply to opening night.

Accessibility: Open Captioning will be provided for the Friday, October 13th performance of The Pragmatists. Trap Door Theatre is wheelchair accessible.