On Thursday, March 1, Colgate’s Brehmer theater will host Drums in the Night, a wildly colorful production of love in a time of war. Drums in the Night was written by Bertolt Brecht and brought by special guest director Gisela Cardenas.
Cardenas comes to Colgate with an impressive background and an inspirational vision of her project. She was born in Peru where she began acting in the theatre; however, she constantly found she was simultaneously training her fellow cast members for the stage.
“It was in 1999 that I stopped acting and permanently became a director,” Cardenas said. She also added that she became interested in learning about different training methods around that same time.
After moving to New York City in 2000, Cardenas received her M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University, where she studied traditional Japanese theatre as well as forms of Indian dance. She later went on to earn an M.F.A from Columbia University. From there, she began to direct theatre in New York, generating an impressive resume of Greek and classical tragedies.
“I love to work with classical material or adaptations of novels, but I like to turn them upside down,” Cardenas said, explaining how she prefers to contemporize the plays she directs to bring a more current aspect to older works. She noted how carefully she works to maintain the “thickness,” or depth of the productions.
Cardenas became interested in Colgate through the work of Professor Adrian Giurgea, the Director of University Theatre.
“[Professor Giurgea] comes from Romania, and the theatre there is very interesting,” said Cardenas. “He is also a director who has worked internationally but chosen to be based here. He is a person who is passionate about creating a visceral experience on the stage.”
Hoping to work with Professor Giurgea, Cardenas appealed to present Drums in the Night here at Colgate. The idea was approved for this semester. When asked why she chose the project, Cardenas was wistful and reflective.
“I’m not eighteen anymore,” she said. “As I get older, I want more contact with younger people. I love how the theatre picks up that energy.”
Elaborating the play itself, she articulated the vitality at the core of the script. Drums in the Night is about two young people in love surrounded by a devastated culture. They find humanity in their love.”
Cardenas went on to explain how this search for humanity is at the very center of her directorial motivation.
“Behind most artists’ work is the question of what it means to be human and how you react to that,” Cardenas said. “I’m trying to create an experience that allows people to face that question. For me, theatre is a comment on reality, but is not real. I like to create a world onstage that has its own rules.”
It is clear that Cardenas has been looking forward to creating a new world and a new set of rules for Drums in the Night.
“I hope to mingle the play with music, and create a wild party,” she said. Some people think theatre is too formal. I don’t think that’s true. Not for me.”
Drums in the Night will come to the Brehmer stage at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 1. This is certainly a production you won’t want to miss.