Firstly, I would want to know what the social atmosphere of Romania was like during this period. I'm not sure if the scenes in Mad Forest are true to life, and people really did stand perfectly silent and perfectly still while waiting to buy groceries, or if the play is a gestus of sorts, a realist play, where the focus is more on the representation than on the actual action of the play, which is an exaggerated form of real life.
In answering this question, I'm inclined to say that the best way to go about it would be to go to Romania, like Caryl Churchill did. I would also try to visit places living under dictatorship, to see what oppression really feels like. Obviously, more knowledge on actual historical events would be extremely helpful as well, but I really would like to know what it felt like to live there, from a human perspective. From the haptic view of things, I suppose; instead of simlply knowing that there was a dictator and people were required to do this and that, to know what was truly in people's hearts and minds.
My second question would be to find out the purpose of the magical creatures in the play. I remember in my AP English class we discussed Magical Realism and its implications; I would start there for my research. Obviously, the magical characters, especially the relationship between the vampire and the dog, are metaphorical and symbolic, but in order to stage a good production of the show, it would be necessary to understand these characters' roles completely.
To answer this question, I would re-read the text many, many times. I would try to find parallel structures between the magical characters and the real characters. I would also fully investigate who these characters are and what part they play in the drama. If I still wanted more, I would go online and look for literary reviews describing the magical characters in Mad Forest. But I would think less of myself for doing so...
Another thing I would research is the title. Yup. No one ever mentions a forest! I think for this one, I would be swallowing my scruples and looking for literary reviews, because I have no clue.Posted by holm0567 at October 21, 2004 5:57 AM