Written by Antonio Vega
Directed by Ana Graham and Antonio Vega

U.S. Premiere

Antonio and Ana are among the most inspiring artists we know. Our 2013 collaboration on WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY was just the beginning of an ongoing partnership to make exciting theatre together.

THE DUCHAMP SYNDROME tells the story of Juan, a Mexican immigrant in The Big Apple, who dreams of stand-up comedy stardom.  Juan is so lonely he starts making friends – literally!  He creates a world of his own in pursuit of the American dream, made up of fellow travelers, human and not, who help him practice his routines.  THE DUCHAMP SYNDROME is a comical love letter to New York, with guest appearances from a large cast of repurposed objects.

Read all the Review Buzz below.



May 3 – June 7
Mon, Wed – Sat @ 7:00PM, Sat & Sun @ 3:00PM

$35 General Admission / $45 Premium Reserved
(Student Tickets: $15 advance/$10 Rush w/ID)


Cast and Creative Team


Rachel Holm, Lighting Programmer; Amanda Tamny, Production Coordination; Ana Graham, Director; Colleen McCaughey, Assistant Production Coordinator; Paul Bougeois, Sound Operation; Antonio Vega, Playwright/Performer/Director; Philip Naudé, Production Manager; Omen Sade, Performer; Víctor Zapatero, Lighting Designer


The Duchamp Syndrome contains adult content and language and may not be suitable for those under the age of 16.  


“Directed by Ana Graham and Mr. Vega, and peopled with many puppets designed by Mr. Vega, this is a busy show with quiet flashes of grace. There is a sharp cultural critique in this story of diminishment, desolation and assimilation.”

New York Times

“The staging is tirelessly inventive, and Vega’s sweetly hangdog Juan can’t help but conjure sympathy.”

The New Yorker

“Fortunately for us, his imagination is rich and strange and manifests itself in delightful magic-realist stage wizardry, courtesy of co-directors Vega and Ana Graham. The show is a sort of meeting point between Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Pee-wee’s Playhouse.” 

The Village Voice

“A play of unsuspecting, beauty, humor and heart. With theatrical imagination, the piece captures the universal spark of humanity that gives voice to the struggles faced in coping with loss, heartache and dreams deferred. It’s a story of migration, family, and ultimately a story of New York and the American dream.” 

New York Theatre Review


“Directors Vega and Ana Graham have created a magical world with surprises around every turn. The carefully calibrated show, along with the perfectly procured items inhabiting the space, enable a toy-store quality in an otherwise mundane existence. It’s with both delight and sadness that we watch Juan’s imagination at work. Since everything on stage is a storytelling implement, it becomes a treat to watch the world transform.”

Theatre is Easy 


“Overflows with humor and theatricality, all while remaining an unflinchingly honest account of one man’s lonely experience in the Big Apple.”


“While massive spectacular puppets dominate on Broadway, it is wonderful to see Vega and Sade’s minute work with these diminutive puppets. They keep the expressive movement of the puppets in beautiful proportion. The smallness focuses the attention of the audience too and seems to speak to the vulnerability of human existence.”

Exeunt Magazine

“I think I can safely guarantee that you’ve never seen anything like this oddball mélange of standup comedy, puppetry, and Kafka’s Metamorphosis, all in the service of a funny, fantastical tale of an immigrant seeking his fortune in the big city.”

Lighting and Sound America

“An unlikely friendship between a vacuum robot, a foul-mouthed cockroach and a Mexican janitor sounds like the wacky plot of an adult-oriented cartoon. But in the hands of directors Antonio Vega and Ana Graham, it is a fantastical tale that speaks of loss, hope and the American Dream. A visual and auditory feast.” 

The Straits Times, Singapore


“Wonderful performance, smart, funny, touching.”

– R.T. (New York, NY)


“I thought it was excellent! So incredibly unique and creative, and Anthony’s passion and energy on the stage are very admirable.

-Melissa (Chelsea, NY)



-Andrea (Gramercy Park, NY)


“Una hermosa visualización de la memoria, de los recuerdos, de las pesadillas y finalmente de los deseos que nos motivan para seguir adelante.” 

-Guillermo (Harlem, NY)

“I enjoyed very much ‘The Duchamp Syndrome‘ for several reasons. First of all interpreters are extraordinary. The second is that they use many theatrical techniques (puppets, shadows etc.). The third is the story: real and human.” 

-Alvaro (Lecco, Italy)

“Brilliant. I want to take it with me everywhere I go, just like toothpaste.” 

-Rodrigo (East Village, NY)

“It was a wonderful, wacky, surreal performance. Funny, intelligent, odd; what an off-Broadway show should be.” 

-William (Gramercy Park, NY)


To celebrate Juan’s dreams of stand-up stardom, Antonio will host a different New York City comedian after each Monday performance, as part of PlayCo’s Idea Lab series. Join us for a few minutes of stand-up from our guest comedians as they share their stories about coming to New York, getting started in comedy, and pass along their best stand-up advice.

Monday, May 11 at 8:30PM
Croatian comedian Anya Yovich helps her western audience answer the age-old question “What ARE Eastern Europeans?”

Monday, May 18 at 8:30PM
Singapore-born comedian Jocelyn Chia is a two-time Moth Storyslam winner and winner of the Gotham Comedy Club Funniest Lawyer competition.

Monday, May 25 at 8:30
Writer/comedian Aladdin Ullah, author of Bengali Harlem and Dishwasher Dreams, and co-founder and host of the multi-ethnic stand-up show Colorblind.

Monday, June 1 at 8:30pm
Writer/comedian Ryan Puno, lived his whole life in the Philippines until he moved to New York last September to become a full-time comedian.

Join us at The Flea Theater, 41 White Street immediately following the performance for scheduled Idea Lab events. All Idea Lab events are free and open to the public.