REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Unveiling & Dozens of Cousins

Two plays by Vaclav Havelunveiling_trap logo

Translated by Jan Novak

Directed by Beata Pilch

At Trap Door Theatre, chicago

Stylistic and satirical absurdity prevails in Havel’s short plays

Trap Door Theatre, under the creative drive of artistic director Beata Pilch, has developed a smooth style especially when mounting Eastern European works. She directs a game cast of players who nicely,even humorously 65 minute work by Czech writer/politician Vaclav Havel.  His 1975 absurdest work, The Unveiling and his 2010 play, Dozens of Cousins, are seamlessly performed.


The press notes calls Havel’s plays: “A humorous commentary of a marginalized man taunted with the life he could be living. What happens when a man visits friends for the grand reveal of their new décor and discovers that their next project is him?”  When writer, Ferdinand (Michael Doonan) visits the wacky married couple, Vera (Tiffany Bedwell) and Michael (Kevin Cox) -we witness the physical stylistic movement and over-the-top satirical presentation that underscores and enhancements the built-in absurdity of the themes. We witness the couple’s condescending attitude that flaunts their “with-it’ decor and lifestyle. They aggressively try to influence Ferdinand to join their modern “hip” lifestyle. This short work is fulled with  sensuality and unique unison movements as well as repetitious dialogue. Cox and Bedwell are in perfect sync here. Doonan is deliciously bewildered.


Add Ryan Czerwonko as Beda, the servant/bodyguard or son(?) in Dozens of Cousins and Havel’s after Communism sequel and we see how time and the spoils of wealth and power can degrade humanity. Taken together, these works are more about the style than the meanings. These well-acted works are funny and enchanting as we get the satire due to the richly flamboyant theatricality of  the players and the decadence of Mike Mroch’s set. How this show was presented is more worthy than Havel’s message. The style dominates. Trad Door Theatre is a Chicago treasure as they present Eastern European-styled theatre deftly. The Unveiling and Dozens of Cousins nicely exemplify there signature style.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2012

For more info check The Unveiling page at

At Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland, Chicago, IL, call 773-384-0494,, tickets $20 – $25, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, running time is 65 minutes without intermission, through January 26, 2013

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