By Tom Regan
“Mother Courage and her Children” is not an easy play to do. Yet David Noland, who teaches theatre at Woorgrove High School and is directing the school’s production of the play, says that his students can handle the play’s theme and intensity.
“Some people have asked me why we’re doing it in high school, but I have a lot of confidence in this group of students,” Nolan said. “They’re going to do an amazing job.”
“Mother Courage and Her Children” is considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. Bertolt Brecht wrote the play in 1939 with assistance by Margarete Steffin. He wrote it after Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 as a warning about the dangers of fascism and Nazism. Set in the 17th century during the 30 Years War in Europe, it is a play about war and the consequences of conflict on ordinary people and how those people try to survive. Brecht said he wanted his audience to think about what was happening in the world around them.
Lily Forrester plays the lieutenant, one of the play’s more corrupt roles. What was it like for her to take on such a despicable character?
“It’s not as difficult as you might think,” Forrester said. “The lieutenant comes in in only one scene, but it is the most pivotal scene in the play. To turn 180 from what you actually believe is easier than turning only 90 degrees, when you can still feel your beliefs nagging at you. It’s like a black and white thing. Completely different.”
Forrester added that it is Mother Courage, in particular, who is a thought-provoking character.
“You have to stop and ask yourself if in desperate times could someone like that exist, or could you even resort to some of the questionable things she does in the play.”
Miranda Huffer, who plays Kattrin, Mother Courage’s mute daughter, agreed with Forrester that Mother Courage’s approach to the conflict happening around her lies at the heart of the play.
“I think that the characters and the language are both very intriguing,” Huffer said. “Mother Courage is so twisted. It’s very hard to get a grasp on her, because she’ll say one thing and mean the complete opposite. She talks about how she does everything for her children but in reality, she uses her children for her own needs. And she is such an interesting and complex character to watch unfold, it adds a lot to the play.”
Woodgrove will present “Mother Courage and Her Children” on Thursday, Oct. 26 and Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 2 PM and 7 p.m. in the Woodgrove High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 each.