The indubitable appeal of staging ‘Woyzeck’ – based on the mental breakdown of a lowly, working-class soldier – is that Georg Büchner never actually finished it. I find it most profound that this most basic structure of a play – a skeleton, if you like – which consists of 24 scant (and rather frank) scenes, has been dubbed the first ‘modern’ drama and has gone on to be reproduced hundreds of times. I sporadically take myself back to a quote from Büchner himself: ‘Death is the most blessed dream’. In this case, though the writer’s death at the ripe old age of 23 in 1837, seemed cruel, Buchner’s death was indeed a dream, as it’s left a ceaseless blank canvas for theatre directors, along with a whole lot of liberty to do whatever they may please with it!
It is with this sentiment that we embarked on creating our version of the play; we’ve incorporated several interluding, quasi-psychedelic, ensemble-based physical representations of Woyzeck’s breakdown, not to mention that (thanks to the most gifted Georgie Proctor) our show is accompanied by a whole score of fabulous music, which will be performed by a live brass quintet. With raucous tavern scenes, a vivacious fairground, a scandalous affair and a few spine-chilling lullabies, you definitely won’t be bored. The long Saturdays devoted to working as a ten-man ensemble have unquestionably paid off; the cast work deftly together on stage and I couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of them.
My whole-hearted thanks go to my glorious prod team and a truly talented cast.
Woyzeck will be performed this Friday and Saturday (8th and 9th December) at 7:30 pm in the Durham Union Chamber on Palace Green.