Mad Forest audiences will be presented a production which utilises the expertise of countless industry specialists including:
Set, Costume and Lighting Designers;
Stage Manager and Deputy Stage Manager;
technical and backstage crew;
publicity and marketing staff;
Box Office and Front-of-House staff;
technical staff including welders and carpenters;
- administration and financial personnel.
No two performances are ever alike in the theatre but due to the time, effort and professionalism that the above artists dedicate to their roles, every performance is guaranteed to delight. Staging a theatre event is a collaborative project and all the people listed consult almost daily to achieve an overall and cohesive product. - Kate Foy
Chris Willems has used the aesthetic of minimalism in this production of Mad Forest. He relies on the five omnipresent concrete columns, which represent the isolation of Romania and its people, to direct focus to the performers and the characters as their stories emphasise the interrelationships between family members as well as the individual stories of the societal collective during the revolution. A set that could suggest ‘anywhere' was important for this production due to the temporal and spatial shifts of the piece, although Sc 9 is defined as a church by the lowering of a cross into the set and act two and three have the enduring image of Romanian flag with the communist symbol ripped out of the material, sitting centre stage, symbolizing Romania's revolt against Ceausescu and his dictatorship. This set symbolises the oppressive nature of Ceausescu's regime, but also the indomitable spirit of the Romanian people. This juxtaposition allows the audiences to celebrate ‘the glimmer of hope' that may be seen in smothering dictatorships.
Inspired by photographs and footage during the time of the Romanian Revolution, Jennie Buckland used the colours of the costumes to address the class of each of the families. The Vladu family were dressed in browns and reds (red was the colour of revolution), wool and plaid to indicate that they were working class and much more involved in the revolution as opposed to the Antonescu family who wore mostly blue and green rich looking fabrics and furs.
The fantastical characters of the play are dressed to allude to the literal character with the vampire wearing a long tattered coat and pants, to create the feel that he has been wandering the earth for hundreds of years and the angel with archangel wings but also wearing a white and cream woman's business suit to symboliSe the commercialisation of the church at the time.
The lighting arrangement, designed by Ben Stewart, has been completed in a Naturalistic style, by trying to recreate lighting that imitates life, to best capture the mood of the piece. Act one uses simplistic lighting with indoor lighting adjusted to the class of the family on stage with poorer families having a starker white light, reminiscent of fluorescent lighting, while the wealthier family have warmer lighting indicating use of light bulbs. Although, the use of lighting in Scene 8 is intricately linked with this scenes tension because while the three young men sit alone on stage giving a sense of isolation and resulting protection the audience feels for the three men, created by soft warm lighting on men and harsh stark lighting for the rest of the stage is challenged by the neon cafe light and the presence of the waiter at the start of the play, giving the audience a feeling of apprehension about the all-pervading powers of the dictator.
The lighting takes a sort of fluidity during Act 2, originally starting the act in cooler colours, a whitewash with blue and grey tones over and as the monologues addresses the issues of the revolution, to emphasise the tension and bloodshed, the red wash builds up. Only to ebb into a amber golden light as the content of the text veers away from the fighting, in an effort to invoke a feeling as if ‘the clouds had parted' and it was the beginning of a time of euphoria, and this warm theme in the use of lights continues throughout the third scene to give the audience a feeling of new opportunities and a fresh start for the characters in the last act.
Created by Andrea Corish, the sound for this production is designed to be unobtrusive, with the purpose to encourages the audience to adjust to each scenes new setting. For example, the sound mirrors the mood of the scene, the loneliness of the first scene in the third act is introduced by Caryl Churchill through a vampire talking to the dog, this is then reflected in the sound of howling dogs.
The music used in the transition is reflective of the issues being addressed in the play. Scene 1 is introduced to the song, How much is that Doggy in the window written by Bob Merrill in 1952. By using this song, the sound reveals a level of oppression Romania is suffering as they are censored of any modern music, stuck with soapy, cheap, patronising music which was used to calm a person. This in contrast to after the revolution at the wedding reception of Radu and Florina, where only modern Romanian pop music is played.