By Larissa Campos
To end the 2012-2013 school year, the Baylor theater department travels back to 1989 Romania during a time of constant fear and struggle as two families fight to survive the remnants of communism in Caryl Churchill’s “Mad Forest.”
The audience will follow the lives of these two families as they face the upheaval caused by the Romanian revolution.
“It’s a fascinating play about the influence of politics on people,” said Dr. David Jortner director and assistant professor of theater. “We often talk about politics but we don’t usually talk about its effect on people and I think this play really explores that.”
Jortner says this play was especially challenging for the theater department. In preparing for the play, they had to spend a good bit of time researching the revolution so the cast could get a better feel for their parts. Also, with parts of the play being in Romanian, the cast had to work hard to get pronunciation and accent just right. To aid in this, Jortner brought in Dr. Cristian Bratu, assistant professor of French, who speaks Romanian and helped the students learn the language quickly.
Jortner also promises an exciting experience for the audience.
“It’s a lot of snapshot scenes and then it becomes a whole as the audience starts to put them together,” Jortner said. “And in that way it’s more exciting for the audience because they become more involved.”
Preparing for the play, technical director Jordan Rousseau said the crew faced some minor challenges in preparing the set.
For most other plays, the theater department uses an in-house scenic designer so creating the set goes relatively smoothly. However, this production required the scenic design of Markéta Fantová, who lives in New York, making communication difficult. A native of Prague, Czech Republic, Fantová was brought in to help capture a more European-looking set with her scene design. The theater department utilizes staff and students to create productions but occasionally will bring in guests to expose students to new ideas and new techniques.
“Communicating with her on her schedule and making sure that matched up with our schedule made things an interesting process,” Rousseau said. “But I think it paid off in the end.”
When describing the play, Rousseau could only come up with the words unique and obscure. He promises an experience unlike any people have seen before from the Baylor theater department.
“Mad Forest” will play the rest of this week through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and there will also be two afternoon showings at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Mabee Theater, located in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center.
Tickets are available and can be purchased by calling the Baylor Theatre box office at 254-710-1865, in person by visiting the Baylor Theatre box office in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center or online at https://www.baylor.edu/theatre.