Creating a Hopeful New World With Mr. Burns

by Mr. Burns Cast Member and Advisory Company member Michael Herold

It was hard to decide where to begin in sharing my thoughts about Mr. Burns, as it is an onion with more layers than we can peel by the 24th of April. However, two key aspects of the show stand out. The first is the importance of story-telling as a means of sharing information, passing on our history, and as entertainment. Discussions that occurred throughout the rehearsal process and in the talk-backs focused on this topic and its primal nature. It helped me realize why I love theater and why theater is so important. Storytelling has been with us since the beginning and will remain with us. It is truly an experience shared by all humans. Secondly, is the need for community. The characters in the play are brought together in the aftermath of a catastrophe, and we see how they rely on each other and work together to survive. In all plays, but especially Mr. Burns, the cast and production team worked together toward the end of producing a coherent performance. Mr. Burns seemed a little more complex in the very nature of its plot, which is then layered with movement and music. But thanks to the creative and giving people on the design teams and in the rehearsal room, we were able to form a caring and safe community. This production is the cast's version of the hopeful new world. We all trust that we have each other's backs and that's what we need to survive as artists and as humans.