"Smartphones: A pocket-size farce" A new comedy by Emilio Williams opening July 19th, 2012 at Trap Door Theatre (Chicago)

Monday, August 20, 2012

We say good-bye! For now...

It was our final weekend for our world-premiere of Smartphones, a pocket-size farce at Trap Door Theatre. The four last shows were sold out!

What a joy is to share our toy with an audience who wanted to play with it every night.

Thanks for all your support, Chicago, and we hope to come back with this and more ridiculous comedies in the future.


Emilio Williams

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ms. Dulex goes to the Big Apple

What a weekend ahead of us!

Always so sad to close a theater show. And Smartphones closes this Saturday night, for a sold out session. (We have been selling out all week!)

This closing is particularly sad for me because it will be also the farewell party for our dear Amelia (Geraldine Dulex) who is moving to NYC.

When Beata Pilch introduced me to Geraldine we went out and drank martinis together. I felt an instant connection to her. She always quotes me on that fateful dinner: "Who knew that a Swiss and a Spaniard could have so much in common?"

Since then Geraldine has played many roles in my life: muse wrapped in bubble-wrap, lady in a pink dress, sister, mother, daughter, object of my affection, object of my desire, master, servant...friend.

One of the most regarding experiences of "Smartphones" has been seeing her grow into the role of Amelia and inhabit the crooked logic of Fede's apartment with equal doses of restraint and total abandon. During that process as she was finding the physicality and sound for her character, I always thought "Is it possible that I didn't even know Geraldine before I wrote this play?"

Geraldine Dulex has touched many of our lives in Chicago with her commitment to bare-bones theater, her amazing work ethic and attention to detail, her understanding of the audience as human beings, and her unsurpassed energy and passion on everything she does.

We're going to miss Geraldine so much...

but we know this is the right thing for her!

We hope that NYC will give her everything she deserves.

Here is a selection of some of the most memorable performances by Geraldine Dulex in the Chicago stage.

Thanks for all the memories!!!

Geraldine with the ladies of "the bitter tears of petra von kant" directed by Beata Pilch for Trap Door Theater
Ms. Dulex with Kevin Cox on Minna by Howard Barker directed by Nicole Wiesner for Trap Door Theater

With John Gray in The Censor. They won an Orgie Award for this groundbreaking basement production.

Geraldine and Dave Holcomb ended being the supper in Werner Schwab's overweight unimportant misshape- a European Supper at Trap Door Theatre  

As the hysterical, Amelia in "Smartphones" at Trap Door Theatre

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Very few tickets left! It's our closing weekend!!!

Dear Friends,

There are only a few tickets left for Wednesday August 15th and Friday August 17th. The Thursday and Saturday shows are sold out already.

You can buy or reserve tickets here:


Saturday is our last night! What a bittersweet moment. We're so happy and thrilled by the reception and support! What a beutiful summer you have given us.

Thanks, Chicago!!!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Brazilian Star: Mariana Leite

A wonderful article in Portuguese about our darling Mariana Leite!


We translated some highlight:

"Mariana as the hilarious Maria in Smartphones"
Actress Mariana Leite, of Sao Paulo, arrived in Chicago in 2011, to accompany her husband, the musician Gabriel Dib to study his masters. Today, she already has a presence in one of the city's most avant-garde stages, Trap Door Theater, playing the role of hilarious maid Maria. She also signs as assistant director of that play: Smartphones by Emilio Williams. Gabriel is responsible for the production of the musical piece.
"Theatre is entertainment," was what I said to Mariana, to paraphrase Brecht. She is a former member of the Brazilian group IVO 60.

Here Mariana's hints for those who want to enjoy the stage in Chicago:
Inside Trap Door

Chicago is full of theatrical activity. It's amazing the number of groups, theatrical spaces and cultural events happening in the city all week! I always check out what is going on the site of the League of Chicago Theatres, because they talk about all kinds of parts, the most commercial to the storefront (or alternative theater)

Among my favorite group is the Trap Door Theatre. They have a cozy theater in Bucktown and always produce quality theater, with bold ideas, proposing to actually research the theatrical language in all its excellence. Sometimes the texts are not simple and, for us who have English as a second language can make it difficult to understand, but there is acting, the scenery, the costumes, light, music and other elements that help us to see the work.


All the reviews (Links)

As we get ready for closing weekend (last performance is August 18th), here is a summary of the critical response to the play, including links to the full articles.

"Emilio Williams's deft, of-the-moment comedy is worth tweeting about. (...) Williams and his deft cast tweak theatrical conventions and technological obsessions with joy and, indeed, smarts."
-Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago


"Smartphones: A Pocket-Size Farce is a smart, well-executed show with just the right ratio of mockery to substance. Recommended"
-Keith Griffith, Chicago Reader 


"The production design is spectacular, evoking an mid-60s flavor.  (...) It looks fantastic, and the performances (hilariously arch) are stylized and otherwordly."
-Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune


"Ah, what a refreshing thing a good farce can be on a hot summer day. In a nation with a drought of not just rain but quality satire, the premiere of Emilio Williams' Smartphones: A Pocket-Size Farce delivers a quirky little comedy with a sneakily smart dose of both old and new humor."
-Clint May, Chicago Theater Beat


"One of the funniest and cleverest pieces of absurd theater I have ever seen. (...) I laughed, I gasped, I cringed, I enjoyed every second of it. It's theater of the absurd for the digital age."
-Jake Lindquist, Chicago Stage Style  


 "IT'S ABSURD HOW AMAZING TRAP DOOR THEATRE IS...OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND? (...) Emilio Williams is a new voice worth following.
" - Paul Kubicki. Stage and Cinema 


“The cast delivers the craziness with a calculated combination of choreographed restraint and reckless abandon. (…)This show looks as good as next year’s iPhone upgrade. Recommended”
-Venus Zarris, Chicago Stage Review


“The cast is wonderful as a unit, but Jodi Kingsley (…) manages to humanize an absurdist character, and once you’ve seen that, you start to think that all absurdist comedies might be improved by such a performance. Recommended”
-Lisa Findley, Center Stage


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Unmatched Style of Studiobema

The runs follows its course. We're overwhelmed by the audience response. We're learning every night about how, in comedy, the audience is one more character on the play. And 99% they audience is right there with us and our crazy story from beginning to end.

Next week will be our last weekend. We're already on the other side of the hill... (The play closes August 18th)

Tonight, I also wanted to blog about Studiobema. This is the factory by one of my favorite avantgarde artists: Michal Janicki. This is the same artists who developed the visual and artwork for "Smartphones- a pocket-size farce" including the poster and still photography.

His website just got some deserved recognition from Unmatched Style:


But most importantly, the latest short film by Mr. Janicki has been posted. And you can watch it below. Click here to watch his new movie:

Murdered Woman Suddenly Gets Up from Chair (a tribute to Wislawa Szymborska)


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Special Talk-back Session with the Raven Foundation

Join us for Trap Door's surprise hit of the summer. The refreshing new comedy that critics and audiences are loving.

Wednesday, August 1st, Maura Junius from the Raven Foundation will lead the post-show discussion "Desire Goes Viral".

Tickets are only two for one at $20.

The show lasts 65 minutes, it starts at 8pm.

                          Smartphones- a pocket size farce

Written and Directed by Emilio Williams 

Now Playing Through August 18th

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8PM

Admission: $20, with two for one admission on Wednesday and Thursday

Call for reservations: 773-384-0494

Friday, July 27, 2012

Better and far more cutting-edge

"And still, with low budgets and a demanding mission, much of what you’ll see there is better and far more cutting-edge than anything you’ll see downtown in the theatre district for triple the price."

This a quote from one of our favorite reviews, published by Stage and Cinema. The title of the review is "IT’S ABSURD HOW AMAZING TRAP DOOR THEATRE IS…OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND?"

Thanks, Mr. Kubicki for appreciating the mission and efforts at Trap Door Theatre!!


"The whole cast is superb and wholly committed, without exception. Each has superb comic timing, and capture their overly-idiosyncratic personas with the just the right amount of farcical exaggeration. They are over-the-top, but they’re not over-the-top about it. Ms. Dulex’ facial expressions could single-handedly drive the show—her character looks utterly befuddled by the world outside of her smart phone, especially when white noise rings across the theatre, randomly interrupting the action. But so too could Ms. Kingsley’s deliciously pompous, judgmental snarkiness: “I only watch films with subtitles.” Having seen company member Antonio Brunetti on stage at the Trap Door more than once, it seems clear that we can expect nothing short of excellence from this actor—watching his already skittish character decompose into incontinence is hysterical."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Great critical response!!!

It has been amazing to see so critics coming to check us out on opening weekend. This commitment from press and bloggers is one of the reasons the Chicago theater community is so special.

The reviews are, so far, unanimous in recommending the play. Thanks!!!

Time Out Chicago: "Emilio Williams’s deft, of-the-moment comedy is worth tweeting about. (…) Williams and his deft cast tweak theatrical conventions and technological obsessions with joy and, indeed, smarts."-  Kris Vire  (3 stars)

Chicago Reader: "Smartphones: A Pocket-Size Farce is a smart, well-executed show with just the right ratio of mockery to substance. Recommended" —Keith Griffith

Chicago Theater Beat: "Ah, what a refreshing thing a good farce can be on a hot summer day. In a nation with a drought of not just rain but quality satire, the premiere of Emilio Williams’ Smartphones: A Pocket-Size Farce delivers a quirky little comedy with a sneakily smart dose of both old and new humor." — Clint May (4 stars)

Chicago Stage Style: "One of the funniest and cleverest pieces of absurd theater I have ever seen. (...) I laughed, I gasped, I cringed, I enjoyed every second of it. It's theater of the absurd for the digital age." Jake Lindquist

Chicago Stage Review: "The cast delivers the craziness with a calculated combination of choreographed restraint and reckless abandon. (...)This show looks as good as next year’s iPhone upgrade. Recommended" — Venus Zarris (3 stars)

Center Stage: "The cast is wonderful as a unit (...) Jodi Kingsley  (...) manages to humanize an absurdist character, and once you’ve seen that, you start to think that all absurdist comedies might be improved by such a performance. Recommended"- Lisa Findley 

Monday, July 23, 2012

What an amazing opening weekend!

If you want a glimpse into the joy and happiness of our project check these photos taken on the stage after opening night. I keep referring to this production as "the happiest theatrical process of my life".

My friend told me once that reviews can be good or can be bad, but that friends can only be good, because if they are bad, they're not friends. How wise! (BTW, we did get two rave reviews so far, but more about that later. This post is about something more important that good reviews!)

So friends, good friends, we do have plenty...some of them came this weekend from Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, just to see the show... one sent us the most beautiful arrangement of pink roses we've ever seen, some other friends organized groups of people to come and see the show.

Then, we have the new friends. Those who enjoyed the show so much they stayed to say kind words and/or have drinks with the cast and crew. The audience response was amazing! Two sold out shows and one almost sold out, but most importantly the people in the room laughed, gasped and was entertained by our little crazy show. Priceless.

And finally, we have the friends from afar. Good wishes, texts, emails, calls came from all over. Most of them from Spain and New York City.

Putting a live show, with limited financial resources, is a very brave, vulnerable proposition, specially a world premiere of new material never tested before. So many things can go wrong, and when they go, the artists are left out in the cold, bare-naked. This time around, for us, nothing went wrong!

This opening weekend, with so much love and friendship, it was hard not to feel completely indestructible.

Thanks, my friends!


The beautiful and talented cast celebrates on stage.

Cast and Crew

John Gray (L), our voice over narrator, made an appearance.
Here with Antonio (C) and Geraldine.

Geraldine and Skye! Two powers of nature who 
did an amazing job with all production aspects.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We opened!

Two beautiful sold out nights (Thursday and Friday). We're thrilled by the audience response.

The first review is also out. It's by Venus Zarris, a critic I admire tremendously!

Thanks to all of you who came to see us!!!



"Master Set Designer Brian Sidney Bembridge creates a sensationally stylized tone and Costume Designer Tonette Navarro compliments the colors and sleek sensibilities to perfection. This show looks as good as next year’s iPhone upgrade.

The cast delivers the craziness with a calculated combination of choreographed restraint and reckless abandon. Mariana Leite opens the play with a hysterically absurd lip-synch that sets the stage for unpredictable irreverence. Geraldine Dulex is a perfectly flirtatious minx as Amelia and Antonio Brunetti is an idiosyncratic delight as the co-dependant Dagobert.

Jodi Kingsley steals the show as Chantal, with a performance that sneaks up on you like overage charges at the end of the month. Her comic timing is smarter than the smartest smartphone and her delivery is nothing short of cheeky brilliance. She completely inhabits the satire and delivers it with a custom ring tone of hilarity."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We open tonight- here are some photos!

Join us at Trap Door Theatre for the World Premiere of a new madcap comedy 
by Spanish Award Winning Playwright Emilio Williams

                                           Smartphones- a pocket size farce

What happens when our lives become more absurd than an avantgarde play? 

Written and Directed by Emilio Williams

With Antonio Brunetti, Geraldine Dulex, Jodi Kingsley and Chris Popio
And the special collaboration of Mariana Leite
Set Designer Brian Sidney Bembridge

Scene Shop Means of Production

Lighting Designer Richard Norwood 
Costume Designer Tonette Navarro 
Sound Designed and Music Produced by Gabriel Dib 
Stage Manager Skye Fort
Make up Designer Zsofia Otvos
Graphic Designer Michal Janicki 
Fight Coreography Justin Verstraete
P.R. Austin Hassett
Assistant Directors Mariana Leite and Gary Damico

Saturday, July 14, 2012

10 out of 12

The intensive tech rehearsals are done now! Tomorrow is the first dress rehearsal with guests.

Still the happiest creative process of my life!

The lighting design by Rich Norwood is a miracle. The work of Gabriel Dib at the music, amazing. We had a fun custom fitting with Tonette Navarro. Brian and Gary will be giving the sets some final touch ups tomorrow....

I can't wait to see the kids in the cast (Geraldine, Jodi, Mariana, Antonio, Chris) have a blast tomorrow night when audiences see a production of "smartphones" for the very first time.

Skye is the supervising angel, of it all!

More to report soon.

Kids, break a leg!!!!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meet Mariana and Gabriel

One of the discoveries during this process, has been working close to Mariana Leite and Gabriel Dib, a couple who recently moved to Chicago from Brazil.

Mariana started in this project as Assistant Director. She is an amazing theater artists with a commitment for social theater and farce. From day one, it was a match made in heaven. We're so much on the same page that I've never had a problem with Mariana commenting out loud her opinions. I always agree with her. Out of this chemistry came the idea to rewrite the play to incorporate a couple of cameos for her to make an appearance. I'll say no more. I think is going to be noticed how hysterical Mariana is. She has been a muse and inspiration in so many aspects of this show. She also shares with me an understanding that theater making should be a happy process. (Go figure! Radical idea!)

And then, there is Gabriel! No wonder why these two are always with a smile on. They're lucky to have each other!

Gabriel is a film composer, producer and musician. He has done all the sound design and produced the music for the show. Yesterday, we received the last version of all the tracks and I couldn't be any more satisfied. Gabriel has managed to mix the ridiculous, the mysterious, and the beautiful in incredible ways. I wish I could post the tracks but that would ruin too many surprises.

Thanks to both of you!!!!



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meet Dagobert and Chantal

Is it possible that I didn't know Antonio Brunetti or Jodi Kingsley when I wrote "Smartphones" in the winter of 2011?

I can't wait for people to meet this odd couple: Chantal and Dagobert. Husband and Wife. Emotionally codependent. He's neurotic. She thinks she is an intellectual. They can't leave without their smartphones. And they can't live without each other, or can they?

Jodi and Antonio are doing something beautiful and hysterical trying to humanize these two absurd characters.

It has been an amazing privilege for me to witness these two schools of acting come together in such a beautiful way.

From Jodi, I've learned how traditional acting can help a ridiculous farce like "Smartphones". It has been a give and take for both of us! She likes clear direction where I like vagueness, so she has forced me to be specific at every corner. That, I have a feeling, has made Smartphones a better play. She is so good that she inspired me to write a new monologue for her. I wanted this Chantal to have her moment in the spotlight. A moment just for her.

From Antonio, I've learned the beauty of having an actor run with a ball faster that I can chase him down the process. I've tried to give him as much freedom as possible because I knew that he could do a better job with Dagobert than me. His work reminds me so much of Peter Seller and Martin Feldman. Or a young Woody Allen. Three of my favorite, all time comedians. Antonio has enjoyed a string of critical acclaimed success with Hamletmachine, They are dying out and Anger/Fly, among other Trap Door hits. I hope he gets noticed for this little play, too.

And in spite of their very different acting approaches, and in spite of how different these two character move and act in scene, Jodi and Antonio have come together to have a hilarious synchronicity in their comedic timing.

As it has happened to me with Chris Popio and Geraldine Dulex (the other couple of actors in the play) I can't wait to find an excuse to work with them again!

Friday, July 6, 2012

First night with a set... and a heatwave.

The heatwave couldn't stop our cast from giving us, tonight, an amazing run-through of the play. 

And coinciding with my one year anniversary in Chicago, today the cast was able to work around an actual full set in my favorite local venue. Who could ask for anything more?

Thanks to the amazing work of Means of Production... These guys have worked so hard to make this happen! What a bunch of gentlemen, so professional, so talented! 

I'm so indebted to them.

The work with Mr. Bembridge, the set designer, continues tomorrow... the crews will be coloring by numbers. And by the end of the weekend the stage universe of smartphones will be ready for the lightning designs of Richard Norwood.

More to come... 


Last night without a set

Today at noon, Means of Production will be delivering our sets. It's a very excitement moment, no doubt...

Last night was our last rehearsal on a bare stage. Here are a few photos courtesy of Jodi Kingsley (Chantal).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Inspired by Brigitte Bardot & Chinchi-Pierre

Today I run into this article in today's Washington Post:

New Photo Exhibition on Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot has been a constant source of inspiration for all of us, as we develop the look and feel of "Smartphones" and specifically the role of "Amelia" played by Geraldine Dulex, her dress, her photos, etc...

I've seen a kick-ass draft of the poster. So B.B! So genious! I love it. Can't wait to share the final poster with all of you.

We will play French pop from the 60's as our ambiance-house music before the play, including some classics by her.

All that watching old B.B. videos on youtube has made me very nostalgic of my dear Pierre, a old-friend/brother who introduced me to all that great French music in the late 80's when we were still kids. "Just kids"

Watch Brigitte Bardot on French TV.



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dancing in my underwear

Dancing in my underwear to FM Belfast from Iceland!

Their song "Underwear" has inspired a moment in the show that wasn't on the original script. I can't say anymore without ruining the surprise!

Perfect soundtrack to celebrate Geraldine Dulex and Gabriel Dib's B-days!

All I can say for now is THANK YOU, GABRIEL DIB! And Happy B-day.

Viva FM Belfast, silly but not stupid!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The making of...

After an intensive week of rehearsals, the cast is taking a break this weekend. The theater celebrates the last performances of the hit play Anger/Fly, and their beautiful set will be gone by Sunday night. (God, can the ephemeral nature of theater be any more cruel?)

Next week, Smartphones will start taking over the stage... little by little... first the sets designed by Brian Sidney Bembridge, then the light designs by Trap Door company member Richard Norwood, who came to see a run through, the music by the Brazilian composer Gabriel Dib, a riot, and finally the wardrobe designs by Tonette Navarro.

The actors have already made some great progress developing the physicality of their characters. The basic blocking has been arranged. But we continue to improve, clean, making every movement more meaningful and sharp. I think often of Moliere, and the play I did in school, back in Madrid, playing Trissotin, as an actor, in "Les Femmes Savantes" (The learned women). Twenty years later I've been very inspired by the clean movements of that farce and by how much fun I had being on that play.

The biggest challenge for all of us is to follow the wicked and broken internal logic within the script of "Smartphones". At times, the ridiculous theater requires from actors to jump into the material without any floating devices, and leaving aside naturalistic acting methods, tools and tricks of the trade... and that is a lot to ask from actors who have invested years and tons of money in becoming "good actors". Yes, the ridiculous theater works in that scary realm of the "good bad-acting". (And what the hell is good acting, anyway?)

The characters of Smartphones move from one moment to the next as if they had fish memory, and they didn't remember what happened earlier. They seem to be void of intentions, or have very passing intentions that are not very meaningful.

The cast could have not been more generous in indulging me and my vision for the show, always taking everything I suggest to a higher, surprising level of excellence and hilarity.

I can't wait to see the final product!! And be able to laugh as a audience member.

In the meantime, I continue to be "happy as a clam".

I'm the luckiest S.O.B. in Chicago. Below some pics by cast member Jodi Kingsley...

A self portrait by Geraldine (Amelia) and Jodi (Chantal) 
taken with a Smartphone during a run through this week.

The great Antonio Brunetti. 

Custom Designer Tonette Navarro and diva Geraldine Dulex.

Chris Popio continues to be the hardest 
working member of the cast. ;-)

Thursday, June 28, 2012



Written and Directed by Emilio Williams (Spain)

Cast: Antonio Brunetti, Geraldine Dulex, Jodi Kingsley and Chris Popio.

What happens when our lives become more absurd than an avant-garde play?

“Smartphones" is the new comedy by Spanish award-winning playwright and director Emilio Williams.

The play is a madcap comedy, both a parody and a tribute to the great theater of the absurd, and the surrealist films of Luis Buñuel, such as “The exterminating angel” and “The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie.”

Last March the play received its first public reading in Spain at the world-renowned Teatro Español. Luis Maria Anson, a leading cultural critic wrote in the Sunday edition of El Mundo newspaper a raving review: “The author has placed a mirror between Samuel Beckett and Yasmina Reza to reflect the new realities of human relationships. (…) He has threaded together perfectly-pitched dialogues with profound thoughts and social criticism.”

Emilio Williams is increasingly known in his native Spain as one of the most interesting new voices on the alternative stage. Since 2007, his profound comedies have gained him both critical and audience acclaim. His work has been produced in Spain, France and the United States.

Earlier in 2010, his play “Tables and Beds” (Camas y Mesas) was selected among 80 works from 12 countries the winner of the 4th Premio el Espectáculo Teatral. In 2011, his farce “Medea’s got some issues” opened at the KGB in New York City. This summer another of his plays, “Your problem with men,” will receive its world premiere at Teatro Luna in Chicago. He will also be co-directing with Molly Brennan the bilingual version of “That’s weird, grandma" for the Barrel of Monkeys.

Set Designer Brian Sidney Bembridge/ Scene Shop: Means of Production/ Lighting Designer Richard Norwood / Costume Designer Tonette Navarro / Original Music Gabriel Dib / Stage Manager Gary Damico / Make up Designer Zsofia Otvos/ Graphic Designer Michal Janicki / Fight Coreography Justin Verstraete/ P.R. Austin Hassett/ Assistant Director Mariana Leite

This production has been supported by Instituto Cervantes Chicago and International Voices Project.

Opens: Thursday, July 19th at 8PM- Closes: Saturday, August 18th, 2011 at 8PM
           Runs: Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8PM
           Admission: $20, with two for one admission on Wednesday and Thursdays.

TRAP DOOR THEATRE 1655 West Cortland Ave. Chicago, IL 60622

For Reservations: 773-384-0494 or online www.trapdoortheatre.com

Monday, June 25, 2012

We’ve got a monster!

Last night we did a whole run-through of the show we’re building. The actors are practically off book and the general blocking has been staged. 

I said: “We’ve got a monster!”

Now we have to make the monster pretty: polish those edges, dress him up, put some make up on him  and bring all the elements of the production together, getting the monster ready for graduation day. (July 19th)

Still, too early to know what the final product will be… but I’m feeling great about the process! And that is all I can do today.

The team is working amazingly well together. We’re committed to make this a happy and fun process for all involved. Sometimes in theater, especially in the alternative scene, artists have a sense that true art can only come from suffering, pain and personal drama.

I have always fought that misconception.  I believe actors are so abused in drama school, and by toxic directors that when they encounter encouraging, positive directors they may feel that maybe they’re not working hard enough. Sometimes people act as if they would think that making theater should not be fun. And that backstage drama and personal fights are just a part of the creative equation.

I refuse to accept all that.

The kind of comedy I’m interested in building right now, high farce & ridiculous theater, requires a level of playfulness that we can only achieve by having an absolute blast with the material and with each other. And I am. This time around, I am. And I love my playmates.

Otherwise, what is the point?

If I wanted to be unhappy, I would have chosen a profession that was, at least, better paid.

Emilio Williams

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Reader: Best of Chicago- Trap Door Theatre

From this week's Reader:

Best String of Theatrical Stunners : THE LAST FOUR PLAYS AT TRAP DOOR THEATRE

Trap Door Theatre is almost literally a hole in the wall: you reach it through a deep, narrow crevice between two buildings. And the programming can seem equally inaccessible. Under founder and artistic director Beata Pilch, the company specializes in what their mission statement calls "challenging yet obscure" works, often by European playwrights with avant-garde sensibilities, dangerous politics, and/or histories of awful behavior. You don't go to Trap Door for an easy time. But you can very definitely go there for a good one. And lately, an astonishing one. Although the ensemble have had successes in the past, their four most recent shows seem to be signaling a new level of mastery—canny choices, vividly realized. I've seen three of those shows: Peter Handke's acerbic They Are Dying Out, Werner Schwab's gleefully nasty Overweight, Unimportant: Misshape—A European Supper, and the latest marvel, directed by company member Kate Hendrickson, Anger/Fly (through 6/30). Of the one I missed—The Word Progress on My Mother's Lips Doesn't Ring True, by Matei Visniec—Reader contributor Justin Hayford wrote that the "production is relentlessly provocative, impossibly beautiful, and apt to haunt you long after it ends." Based on experience, I can absolutely believe him.

 —Tony Adler

Antonio Brunetti in Anger/Fly

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Possessed by Studiobema…

The first time I walked into the Trap Door Theatre, I knew I had found my place in the world. The theater is at the end of an alley, behind the restaurant Jane’s. Inside, it looks like your quintessential European alternative theater space.  But my true door to the universe of Trap Door Theatre was the posters designed by Michal Janicki at Studiobema covering the walls of the lobby area.

If you know who Janiski is, chances are that you are, like me, an unconditional fanatic. If you don’t know him, please visit his website and get lost in his sequestered, cracked, stunning universe… he is not only a designer but an accomplished photographer and filmmaker with a very personal take on life as we should know it.

I went to see the world premiere of his movie Trupiak at the Oracle Theater. He spoke at the end of the screening and I was so star-struck that I felt like a twelve year old girl in a Justin Bieber concert. So, I didn’t even dare to talk to him to say congratulations.

Then, thanks to the safe distance of Facebook, I gathered the balls to send him a copy of my manuscript and I begged him to help us in any way possible. I wish Michal would have co-directed Smartphones with me! But he is a busy guy. Thank God, at least, he agreed to help with the poster and the promotional shots of the cast (see below previous entries for his pictures of the cast).

Michal has given me many ideas for Smartphones. His creative generosity has no limits. Many of them are just lines of poetry that resonate in my head while we’re in the rehearsal room. Most were like riddles whispered by a small person in a dream sequence by David Lynch. Some others were like Haikus turned into lyrics for a song by Yma Sumac. When you talk to Michal you become a kid again, your eyes get really big, and you feel you are riding a rollercoaster ride inspired by the movie “House” (Hausu, 1977).  (He has even suggested a title for my autobiography! I'll say no more.)

Maybe one day I will have the genius (and the budget) to put his ideas on a stage!!!!

But for now, I’m on that difficult spot to be impatiently awaiting for the arrival of his poster design for “Smartphones”. It’s a tough wait but knowing that, for sure, when that poster gets on my e-mail box it will be as one of those rare Christmas Days when Santa doesn't disappoint.

Emilio Williams

This is the first of many poster that Michal Janicki 
 has designed for Trap Door Theatre. Wow!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rubbing shoulders with Anger/Fly

I'm pinching myself... I'm rehearsing at Trap Door Theatre, my favorite theater in Chicago!

Is this really happening to me?

We're rehearsing off hours around the set of Anger/Fly that miracle play directed by Kate Hendrickson and written by my generous and talented colleague Ruth Margraff. I've seen that show 4 times and I'm coming over for one more this weekend, before it closes June 30th.  The play is surprising, twisted, challenging and/but so much fun to watch. Everytime I see it, I discover a dozen new details that I had missed before. And I laugh my ass off every single time.

I'm hoping some of their talent will transfer to our play by rubbing against the white sets designed for Anger/Fly by wonderboy Mike Mroch.  (Mike did the sets for some of my favorite shows last year including Progress at Trap Door and Brand at Red Tape)

In the meantime, we're trying to make sense of our play at hand, the silly "Smartphones", but not too much sense, I hope. I always worry that over-analyzing intentions during this part of the process may take away from the magic of absurdism. I'm increasingly haunted by the notion that there is nothing less real, and more fake and boring, than naturalistic approaches to theater.

At the end of the day, we human beings don't have clear objectives, agendas, every time we open our mouths. We, I believe, are random and inconsistent more times that we dare to admit. And the only way for me to be "real" is to be truthful to our profound falseness as human beings.

Emilio Williams

Photo from Anger/Fly at Trap Door Theatre

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Geraldine Dulex plays Amelia

Swiss actress, and Trap Door Theatre Company Member, Geraldine Dulex plays the hysterical Amelia.

Geraldine has been one of the key driving forces behind this world premiere. Her work on this play is going to be a revelation for old and new fans of Trap Door.

At the Trap Door Theatre, she was last seen in "Overweight, unimportant: Misshape". She has also been seen in other Trap Door favorites such as Minna, First Ladies, 12 Ophelias, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Emma. Géraldine produced and starred in Ebb and Flow Theatre’s inaugural production of Anthony Neilson’s The Censor which won an Orgie Award. She is also a recipient of an artist grant for her one-woman show Fawn. Her Chicago credits include: Steppenwolf, Eclipse, Fox Valley Repertory, Theatre-Hikes, Prop and The Mime Company. www.geraldinedulex.com

Photos by Michal Janicki at Studiobema
Make up and hair by artist Zsofia Otvos

Chris Popio is Barnaby

Chris is also a Trap Door Theatre company member. Although, at first, we toyed with the idea of him playing "Dagobert" against type, we finally decided to have him played "Barnaby" the bully, sexy, husband of Amelia.

Chris has been a revelation to me as an actor, friend and colleague. I can't wait to work with him in the future!!

Photos by Michal Janicki at Studiobema
Make up and hair by artist Zsofia Otvos

Meet Chantal

Chantal is played by Jodi Kingsley. Jodi has been the last one to join the cast and quite a discovery to work with.

Jodi's local credits include Seanachai, Boho, the Annoyance, and the Bailiwick, and she has worked regionally with the Houston Shaw Festival, The Actor’s Forum, and The HBO/WB Workspace in Los Angeles, among others.

She is co-Artistic Director of the DIVISION theater company, and will be directing their production of Mad Forest next fall.

Photos by Michal Janicki at Studiobema
Make up and hair by artist Zsofia Otvos

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Antonio Brunetti will play "Dagobert"

Antonio was last seen on Trap Door Theater playing the Tramp in Anger/Fly, by Ruth Margraff. He has also appeared in They Are Dying Out, The Word Progress On My Mothers Lips Doesn’t Ring True, Hamlet Machine and Chaste, all at Trap Door Theatre, where he is a company member.

Recent productions elsewhere include End of Plays Fest with Ex Pat Theatre; an Out of Site Spectacle with Walkabout Theatre; 1001 and The Franchise in Sketchbook 11 with Collaboraction, where he is also a company member.

European stage credits include: Oleanna and The Glass Menagerie with Altesschauspielhaus in Stuttgart, Germany; The Graduate at Stuttgart Theatre Center; A Midsummer Nights’ Dream in Dublin, Ireland; Fool for Love in Berlin, Germany. Antonio is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

Photos by Michal Janicki at Studiobema
Make up and hair by artist Zsofia Otvos

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cast announced

Tonight, we proudly announce the cast for the world premiere of "Smartphones" in Chicago. Trap Door Company members Antonio Brunetti, Geraldine Dulex, Chris Popio, together with the great Jodi Kingsley. And we will have a very special collaboration from John Gray.

 Opening night: July 19th at 8pm.

Monday, April 23, 2012

About the play

What happens when our lives become more absurd than an avantgarde play?

“Smartphones, a Pocket-size Farce”, is a one-act play by Spanish award-winning playwright Emilio Williams.

The play is a madcap comedy, both a parody and a tribute to the great theater of the absurd, and the surrealist films of Luis Buñuel, such as “The exterminating angel” and “The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie.”

Last March the play received its first public reading in Spain. Luis Maria Anson, a leading cultural critic for one of the leading Sunday papers wrote in a raving review:

“The author has placed a mirror between Samuel Beckett and Yasmina Reza to reflect the new realities of human relationships. (…) He has threaded together perfectly-pitched dialogues with profound thoughts and social criticism.”