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2003 workshop

Translated by DANIEL GEROULD




FRED BACKUS as Plasfodor Mimecker
HOPE CARTELLI as Mammalia Mimecker
STACIA FRENCH as The Chinese Mummy
KELLI RAE POWELL as Masculette
ANDREA MODICA as Graf Franz von Telek
with JEFF LEWONCZYK and DANNY BOWES as The Gendarmes

Costume Design by IRACEL RIVERO


MAY 13 - JUNE 4, 2004

The Pragmatists is an early attempt by Polish polymath Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939) – an eccentric avant-garde genius who made his mark in the fields of painting, philosophy, photography, theatre, and drug use – to bring to life his theatrical theory of Pure Form, in which a work's formal elements take aesthetic precedence over its narrative content. 

The narrative content in this case concerns an existential conflict between two former friends: the weak, passive recluse Plasfodor Mimecker and the confident, bombastic Minister of Poisons Graf Franz von Telek.  When von Telek intrudes on Plasfodor's cloistered parlor to recruit him for a bizarre world domination scheme, the two men use the women surrounding them as weapons in their struggle: Plasfodor's mute wife Mammalia, his androgynous maid Masculette, and a mysterious Chinese Mummy in the employ of von Telek. These women, no mere objects, control the action just as much as, if not more than, the play's ostensible protagonists, and life grows increasingly difficult for everyone involved.

Piper McKenzie's production of The Pragmatists, an earlier version of which was presented in workshop form at Chashama in November 2003, represents the group's second excursion into Witkiewicz's world, following a 2002 staging of his masterpiece The Water Hen at the Present Company Theatorium.  The current staging at the Brick places the audience in the position of guests in the Mimeckers' haunted living room, and incorporates elements of 1930s horror films and cabaret as well as Pure Form.