REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Balcony


By Jean Genettrap door theatre

Translated by Bernard Frechtman

Directed by Max Truax

At Trap Door Theatre, Chicago

Provocative and sensual examination of the artifice of authority proves intoxicating

Trap Door Theatre love to mount absurdist works or it loves to give a an absurdist slant to most works. They have style and an extremist take on French playwright Jean Genet’s 1956 drama The Balcony. This weirdly provocative play is a wordy expressionist work that unfolds as an examination of the artifice of authority. Set in a brothel during a bloody revolution, The Balcony demonstrates the fun at Madame Irma (Nicole Wiesner) house.

trap door theatre

At Madame Irma’s brothel their specialization in providing fetish scenarios for their clients who seek the erotic pleasures of playing government icons without having to actually have the burden of being those officials. In this stylized production we see several fetishes being played out. Things are all fun until the fighting from the local revolution disrupts the sanctity of the brothel’s fantasies. Actual government officials and possibly the queen go missing. Irma and the Chief of Police (Alzan Pelesic) devise a grand scenario that aims to preserve the status quo while immortalizing¬† them both forever.

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While some parts of this over written show can be a challenge to keep up with,¬†¬† the over all production provides enough intrigue and sensual stimulation to be a theatrical treat. The costumes are unique, the acting pushes the extremes, and the atmosphere engaging. The surreal world of sexual fetishes and the raw expression of power is vividly exposed for all their trappings. The Balcony, like most Trap Door Theatre productions is an acquired taste like a very dry martini. For a unique theatrical experience, see The Balcony – it’ll tickle your theatrical bones. Be warned that it is 110 minutes of unexpected sensuality presented by a game cast of dedicated players.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed:September 7, 2013

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout The Balcony page at

At Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland, Chicago, Il, call 773-384-0494,, tickets $20, 2 for 1 on Thursdays, $25 on Saturdays, Thursdays they Saturdays at 8 pm, running time is 1 hour 50 minutes without intermission, through October 12, 2013

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