Upon finally reading the article of Dramaturgy on Non-Realism, I've come up with a new (revised) edition of how I would go about dramaturging Mad Forest. One of the things that I'd look into would be the issue of double-casting (or rather, triple-, quadruple-, etc. casting). From the article I was reminded of non-realism's emphasis on the players being only figures, not real characters. I'd have to analyze which of the parts should be double-cast to create the greatest effect. I noticed in the book of Mad Forest that of the members of the original cast, many of them played several parts, and some even had five or six parts. Since the double-casting in Our Country's Good was such an important aspect of the show. I assume it could be used to an equally effective end in Mad Forest. I would examine those multiple-casting choices made in the original presentation and see how they could be used in my own production.
I would also determine what sort of set could be used to greatest effect in production of the show. Since it is a non-realism play, there is almost infinite liberty that can be taken with the stage setup, which can be almost as important in the storytelling as the script itself. Of course, the type of set would be constrained by the physical theater that would be used to house the show, which would be where I would start. It seems like there are so many directions in which to go, set-wise; it makes my little techie heart go pitter-pat, as Sarah would say. I did discover a short explanation of the title of the play in the beginning, and now that I understand what it means, I would try to incorporate that idea into the staging of it. I think a physical forest, or a suggestion of it, on stage would also help to create and convey the mood of the play.
As far as my previous post on dramaturging, I still hold that those would be good questions to pursue, as well. The work of a dramaturg is never complete, I suppose.
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.
TERMS OF INTEREST:
Epic - this word seems to me to have the same problem as 'community' in our other class, in that everyone knows what it means, but no one can define it.
The last paragraph on p. 124: "We have to find a point of view for our demonstrator that allows him to submit this excitement to criticism" - I really didn't understand this whole paragraph. What that the actor does must be open for criticism?
"The actor must...present the person demonstrated as a stranger, he must not suppress the 'he did that, he said that' element." - I think this is one of the major ideas of this street theater.
Socially practical significance - hmm, the ultimate goal of street theater? Or just another idea?
"The demonstrator need not be an artist" - Brecht keeps stressing that anyone should be able to be an actor. If this is so, then why are there so many darn acting classes I'm required to take? Margolis Method and all that???
"Epic theatre is an extremely artistic affair... it has got to be entertaining, it has got to be instructive." - Here's where Brecht seems to resolve the 'anyone can act' concern that I had, but he doesn't really describe it that much. I wish he'd go into it more.
"When something seems 'the most obvious thing in the world' it means that any attempt to understand the world has been given up." - on about the 20th reading, I finally began to understand what this line was saying, but only on the surface level. Something's telling me I could write a paper on it, if I understood it fully...