With finals approaching and the days flying by until Bowdoin students will return to their respective homes, stress is descending on the College. If you want to escape these stressful times for a few moments, allow Curtain Callers to take you “Into the Woods.” 

“Into the Woods” is a musical directed by Cordelia Zars ’16 and Max Middleton ’16, with music by Stephen Sondheim. The two worked together on “Sweeney Todd” last semester and paired up this semester for another production.

Unlike most student-produced theater, the musical will be performed in the Bowdoin Chapel. 
Actor Railey Zantop-Zimlinghaus ’19 said, “I’m really interested to see how it ends up looking in the chapel because it’s not a very typical space.” 

She went on to explain that because of the tall ceilings the chapel acoustics are different than those in more common spaces like Pickard Theater, which should make for a unique musical experience. 

In order to account for issues with acoustics, some of the show’s blocking goes off the stage and onto the carpeted area bringing it closer to the audience, explained Zars.

In addition to the unique acoustics, the chapel provides for another unexpected obstacle.
Zantop-Zimlinghaus explained that there is no backstage in the chapel, so the actors will be in the pews next to the audience when not on stage. 

While the chapel is not typically used for theater, the cast has learned to work with these new challenges. 

“We really had to work around [the different space], which has both been a really frustrating process and a cool one because we’ve gotten to be more creative with our show,” said Zars.
“The staging is minimal, we’ve made everything ourselves with scissors and tape,” she said. “We’re not pretending that it’s a huge production with elaborate sets and elaborate sound systems, it’s just us on stage.”

When asked what her biggest challenge has been as a co-director, Zars said that the show has been a huge time commitment. 

“It’s kind of like the best and the hardest that it takes a lot of energy, but when you’re so immersed in something like that it gives a lot of energy back,” she said. 

She said that the biggest challenge the group faced as a whole was finding a rehearsal schedule that could work for everyone. As Bowdoin students often tend to be overcommitted, having a cast of 19 busy actors provided for a special challenge.

 The challenge seemed to be worth it, however, for the additions that each member brings to the stage. 

“We have a really talented group of cast members that we are very lucky to [have] and they’ve just put so much time into it,” said Zars. 

For Zars, the musical was a rewarding project in more ways than one.

“Devoting that much time and energy to understanding somebody else’s emotions, somebody who doesn’t even exist...getting your imagination and your levels of empathy to that point is just the most beautiful thing about the show and art in general,” she said.

Zars added, “I think we have made a pretty cohesive and beautiful project and every member of the cast has committed a lot of their emotional and mental energy into making this show really come to life.”