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Mad Forest

Department of Theatre and Dance

By Caryl Churchill | Directed by Susan Kerner

Mad Forest recounts the days of the 1989 Romanian Revolution. With a daring and contemporary immersive staging, this two-act play explores how an oppressive political regime effects the lives of everyday people and the lengths they will go to fight it.


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Caryl Churchill has written for radio, TV and theatre. Theatre includes Owners (1972), Traps (1976), Top Girls (1982), all at the Royal Court; Softcops (RSC 1984); Serious Money (RC 1986); Three More Sleepless Nights (RC 1989); and a number of plays for the theatre groups Monstrous Regiment – Vinegar Tom (1976) – and Joint Stock – Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (1976), Cloud Nine (1979), Fen (1983), A Mouthful of Birds (1986) written with David Lan, Ice Cream (RC 1989). More recent plays include Mad Forest (Central School 1990), the music theatre piece Lives of the Great Poisoners (Second Stride 1991), The Striker (National Theatre 1994), Blue Heart (Out of Joint 1996), This Is a Chair (1996), Far Away (2000), A Number (2002), Drink Enough to Say I Love You? (2006), all at the Royal Court. Translations: Seneca’s Thyestes (RC 1995) and Strindberg’s Dream Play (NT 2005). Top Girls, Fen, Serious Money, Ice Cream, and The Skriker have all been done at the Public Theater. James Macdonald directed Lives of the Great Poisoners and Thyestes in London and A Number at the New York Theatre Workshop.

Susan Kerner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance. A member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, her directing credits include productions in New York, London, Shanghai, and at major regional theatres throughout the United States including the Tony Award-winning Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and Meadow Brook Theatre (MI). As Resident Director at George Street Playhouse for 10 seasons, her critically acclaimed productions include the American premiere of Tom Kempinski’s Separation, and the world premiere of James Still’s award-winning And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. Prof. Kerner has taught and directed at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York University in London, Rutgers University, and Drew University. She served on a National Endowment for the Arts’ Theatre panel for Education and Access and the National Advisory Committee for the Theatre Praxis. A 1996 recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education, she holds graduate degrees in Dramatic Literature from Columbia University and Directing from Boston University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in India and has taught and directed theatre programs in Greece, Italy, England, China, and Korea.