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

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.