About Mud

A quintessential Fornes play, Mud won the OBIE Award for Best New Play in 1984. It is one of the playwright’s many explorations into humanity's darker side. Mud challenges audiences with its uncompromising look at poverty, gender, and illiteracy.

Mud is for mature audiences. It depicts sexual situations, adult language, and violence.

A Note from the Director

Welcome to Maria Irene Fornes’s Mud. I would like to thank you for coming.

When I first read Mud, I was struck by the way the character’s spoke--it was not quite human but instead closer to how animals might speak. I found Fornes’s ability to capture the human relationship to the animal one of the most striking qualities in the play. Although we often forget, humans are animal beings--we have base desires, instincts, urges; what differentiates us from animals is our capacity for restraint. In Mud, Fornes depicts the tension between indulgence and restraint. We see three characters, one practically animal, one who lives like an animal but is reaching for more, and one who epitomizes grace. This struggle--between indulgence and restraint, the animal and non-animal, the rough and holy, the id and ego--is one understood by everyone; it is perhaps the defining trait of our existence. The way Fornes abstracts and compresses such massive ideas about our condition into simple, clear, and gripping characters and narrative led me to choose the play for my senior capstone.

In order to embody the tension between the animal and human we started every rehearsal with the Suzuki Method of Actor Training--a rigorous and physical training method meant to teach actors how to use their bodies to create a conscious, fictive, theatrical presence (what Suzuki has coined “animal energy”). We have used this training as a way to discover how to speak and perform the show by heightening and compressing the animal qualities of the characters onstage.

I hope this show might clarify, disrupt, or deepen your understanding of the human animal. Thank you for coming.

--Nathan Shu