Theatre for a New Audience has partnered with the Fisher Center at Bard to present three free digital presentations of Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest. Created by experimental theatre and opera director Ashley Tata, Churchill’s 1990 play will be broadcast live in a specially modified version of Zoom and brought to life by Bard actors performing remotely.
The Bard College Theater & Performance Program production will be streamed May 22 (7 PM ET), May 24 (5 PM ET), and Wednesday, May 27 (3 PM ET). Details for how to RSVP in advance and access the stream are available at tfana.org.
Developed on a visit to Bucharest with director Mark Wing-Davey, Churchill’s Mad Forest is set in Romania just before, amidst, and in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Ceaușescu dictatorship.
“We found the material breathed differently in this space," says Tata of the digital run of Mad Forest. "State-run, regularly televised addresses are the medium of choice for dictators. As it was for the Ceaușescus. Churchill’s play references the days when the television station was occupied by revolutionaries. They opened the doors so citizens—victims of the regime—could testify and bear witness to how governmental policies had affected them for decades...Transitioning to this format and incorporating it as a design and meta-theatrical element seems almost obvious.”
Tata's Mad Forest features video design by Eamonn Farrell, video programming by Andy Carluccio, who has written customized Zoom code for the show, and scenic design by Afsoon Pajoufar, who has created 125 individually designed Zoom backgrounds.
The cast of Mad Forest is made up of Phil Carroll, Andrew Omar Crisol, Lily Goldman, Tim Halvorsen, Mica Hastings, Azalea Hudson, Ali Kane, Gavin McKenzie, Taty Rozetta, Violet Savage, Yibin (Bill) Wang, and Charlie Wood.
Rounding out the creative team are costume designer Ásta Bennie Hostetter, lighting designer Abigail Hoke-Brady, composer and sound designer Paul Pinto, movement director Daniel Safer, production stage manager Vanessa C. Hart, video engineer Sean B. Leo, properties master Shane Crittenden, assistant stage manager Anisha Hosangady, assistant stage manager and sound operator Maggie McFarland, and assistant directors Laila Perlman and Angela Woodack.