REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams


By Heiner Mullerhamletmachine by muller at trap door theatre

Translated by Carl Weber

Directed by Max Truax

Music by Jonathan Guillen

At Trap Door Theatre

Provocative and surreal look into the madness of hell

“I want to be a machine … no pain, no thoughts.” – Hamlet from Hamletmachine

“Theater is a laboratory for the social imagination.”  – Heiner Muller

East German playwright Heiner Muller’s 1977 script for Hamletmachine is but a mere nine pages leaving much room for a creative director to interpret the work.  Director Max Truax sure has created a most enticing, a most riveting, and a most mind-numbing 70 minute one act. This postmodernist work is a black operetta that features sequences of sung chants whose repetition emphasizes the falling into hell by the zombie-like three Hamlets (Antonio Brunett, Rich Logan and David Steiger). Add Gertrude (Lyndsay Rose Kane) and the two temptresses Ophelias (Sadie Rogers and Tiffany Joy Ross) and this deconstructed Hamlet vividly depicts both the destruction of the individual and the decay of an individual’s national pride.

hamletmachine by muller at trap door theatrehamletmachine by muller at trap door theatre

This haunting production contains mood music (by Jonathan Guillen) that hovers over and deepens the atmosphere of chaos.  Madness, betrayal torment Hamlet as he questions his sanity. The splendid and dedicated performances are deeply truthful as each player goes for the jugular.  Director Truax has created an atmosphere where hallucination and madness prevail.

hamletmachine by muller at trap door theatrehamletmachine by muller at trap door theatrehamletmachine by muller at trap door theatre

I have always admired theatre groups with the chutzpah to stretch the boundaries of theatre. No troupe in Chicago does a finer job covering new territory than Trap Door Theatre.  Max Truax’s Hamletmachine is master piece of experimentalist theatre that will boggle your mind.  For those adventurous souls who cherish stylist and artsy work, the Hamletmachine will satisfy your creative cravings.


Tom Williams

At Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-384-0494,, tickets $20 (2 for 1 on Thursdays), Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, running time is 70 minutes without intermission, through February 12, 2011

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