Alumna Ashley Tata '12 Launches 'Mad Forest' Online

BY Felix van Kann, June 5, 2020

Theatre alumna Ashley Tata '12 launched her livestream production of Mad Forest, a co-production of Theater for a New Audience and the Fisher Center at Bard College. The show played online three times between May 22 and May 27 with quarantined Bard acting students from 14 remote locations via Zoom.


Mad Forest, a work by English playwright Caryl Churchill from 1990, is set in Romania on December 25th, 1989. A dictator is executed. A totalitarian regime topples. What happens next? Mad Forest depicts life just before, amidst, and in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Ceaușescu dictatorship.


According to Ben Brantley, co-chief theater critic for The New York Times, “Tata’s version — which achieved its present form when the stage production in rehearsal had to be canceled because of the pandemic — adds still another layer of interpretive tools and filters.”

Ashley Tata is a freelance director of new opera and multi-media performance and the Creative Director of Immersive Escape Productions where she devises environmental and immersive experiences. Her work has taken her to Kiev, Ukraine for the International Bulgakov Theater Festival, to Poland to train at the Centre for Theatre Practice Gardzienice, to Prague to create a piece of environmental theater at the 2011 Quadrennial and to Berlin to conduct research for her MFA thesis production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan. She is the recipient of the Lotos Foundation's Emerging Artist Award in Arts and Sciences.