Trap Door Theatre presents WHITE PLAGUE Review:Apocalyptic War Play

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Trap Door Theatre presents The White Plague

When a society is on the brink of world war, a mysterious plague outbreak ensues. No one knows why or how – but they do know that it targets those older than age 40. Once diagnosed, one typically has three to five months to live. When Doctor Galen (Keith Surney) develops a cure, all think their prayers have been answered. However, Galen has an agenda: his cure is only meant for the poor, anyone who lives outside of that realm does not get to be saved.

Written by Karel Čapek and translated by Peter Majer and Cathy Porter, The White Plague asks audiences to consider our own morals and values, and at what point we might be willing to let them slide. War causes fear, and fear makes a profit. Galen wants to end the war, but will he be able to convince those in charge that his cure is worth ending the reign of power?

Creative Design

Directed by Nicole Wiesner, the artistic team transforms the intimate Trap Door Theatre space into an apocalyptic world from with no escape. The entire stage is white, and on the back wall are plastic curtains through which actors can exit, enter, or simply stand behind to observe the events on stage. There is a constant sensation of being watched, and the audience’s close proximity to the stage thrusts them into that action.

The play features a world lost in a never-ending war – so overwhelming in fact,that some simply accept it to be the everyday. While some wish for it to end, such as Galen, others find pleasure in the profit that it could bring – like the Marshal (Marzena Bukowska). There are secret alliances and conversations about the war and plague – as well as who does and does not deserve to be saved. While there are so many secrets in this world, the design and plastic curtains suggest that nothing is truly hidden, and no one in this society is ever really safe.


The White Plague,would particularly appeal to those who hunger for politically charged and thought-provoking European theatre.  It also will have strong interest to fellow admirers of imaginative stage design.  Others, however, might find the ultra-cerebral nature of the script less engaging or even difficult to follow.


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Venice Averyheart, Dennis Bisto, Marzena Bukowksa, David Lovejoy, Michael Mejia, Robin Minkens, Emily Nichelson, Keith Surney

Production Team:

Set Designer J. Michael Griggs/ Original Music and Sound Design Danny Rockett / Costume Designer Rachel Sypniewski/  Lighting Designer Richard Norwood / Makeup Design Zsofia Otvos / Graphic Designer Michal Janicki/ Dramaturge Milan Pribisic / Choreographer Miguel Long / Stage Manager Anna Klos


Now extended through January 25, 2020

Thursdays at 8:00pm
Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 8:00pm


Trap Door Theatre
1655 West Cortland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622



Check for Half-Price Deals from Hot Tix:


For full-priced tickets and ticket availability visit the Trap Door Theatre website

Photos by Chris Popio

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago

About the Author:

Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters.

Click here to read more Picture this Post stories by Lauren Katz.


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