By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer
Baylor Theatre’s production of “A Monster Calls” will open Nov. 29 and run through Dec. 4 in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. It is Baylor Theatre’s last mainstage production of the semester, and tickets are available through the Baylor Theatre website.
The play, which centers around a boy named Conor who is coping with his mother’s terminal illness, is all about interconnectedness, director Chelsea Curto said. When Conor learns of his mother’s illness, he begins to construct a monster in his head, which visits him in his dreams each night to tell him stories.
“I was really drawn to the themes of the play, the themes of connection, the theme of the complexity of the human experience,” Curto said. “One of the big things that the monster is trying to teach Conor is that people are complex, and sometimes two seemingly different things can be true simultaneously.”
Sarah Mosher, assistant professor of costume design and technology, said the set and costume design are heavily connected with the themes of the play.
“My job was to allow the audience to feel that sense that we’re inside somebody’s brain, that it feels a little abstract, that it feels a little outside reality,” Mosher said. “[The costumes] are reminiscent in some way of neurons and neuronal connections in the brain, as well as branches of trees that helps us to feel a little bit removed from reality as Conor does as he’s dealing with these emotions.”
The costume and set are made entirely out of recycled material as well as costumes and props used in prior Baylor Theatre productions, in an effort to make the show more sustainable. Mosher said sustainability is something she’s passionate about.
“We’re really thinking about the ecological impact of the work, and also the ways that it pertains to the particular questions that this play centers around,” Mosher said. “It centers around a Yew tree, which is used for certain cancer medicines, but it has to be cut down and destroyed in order to produce that medicine … so it’s about our relationship with the land and with the environment.”
The costume design is important to Nacogdoches senior Jack Norman, who plays the role of Conor. His character wears a pair of white Vans throughout the show, signed by friends whom Conor has lost. The shoes are actually signed by members of the cast, something which brought in an extra layer of meaning, according to Norman.
“I’ve really grown to love those shoes, because it’s like all of my friends have signed this and put their own messages that they wanted to have,” Norman said. “It definitely feels more grounded because I have [the shoes] that I can always look down and see. They provide a lot of comfort like no matter what, I have everyone here.”