Woyzeck – The Play

This is a review on Woyzeck(dvd version) – “Woyzeck, is tormented in private by visions of the apocalypse, and tormented in public by the unbearable weight of social pressure. He descends into madness and murder.
A morality play with more than a nod toward Becket and Breecht, this adaptation of Georg Buckners play once again has Kinski in astonishing form and Herzog showing a stark, harsh reality that exposes hidden rebellion and suffering in common man.”

http://www.thehut.com/dvd/woyzeck/72291.html?utm_source=googleprod&utm_medium=gp&utm_campaign=gp_dvd  (accessed 1st march 2011)

I think this review is pretty much what the group is looking to achieve. Not to show that Woyzeck is insane but to show that the world around him, the pressures from society is driving him to insanity. I think we show this in the performance in the doctor scene when all the characters place their chalk covered hands all over Woyzecks body. This is a way of showing that everyone is having a touch or impact on his life, something that he has no control over.

A positive thought post!

Well Woyzeckers,

I think our blog is looking pretty tip-top! Everyone has been adding some really good stuff…and its looking rather swish aswell!

Tech rehearsal: Wednesday 2nd – 6pm ( I shall bring my camera! =) Remember to bring all props and costume bits. Im going to try and find a stuffed animal cat of some sort tomorrow. I shall also get some chalk!!! Aha! I hopefully will have managed to borrow 3 masks, if not…I shall purchase them instead!

Anything else we need to get?

Amie =)

Carry On Captain.

So, I’m playing the Captain in the shaving scene, which is a fun scene to play. As our opener for our fifteen minute Dramaturgy assessment, it is therefore important to get the characters right and set the tone for Woyzeck’s world. Victor Price tells us in the appendix to his translation of Woyzeck that in what many regard as the final manuscript:

The order of the scenes is puzzling. Woyzeck shaving the Captain, which many editors place at the beginning, comes fourth (2008, p.134.).

 This makes characterisation choices significantly varied. Depending on what scenes Buchner had placed before this one, you could play the Captain in many ways because the tone and feel of the piece would have been set already. As we have placed this scene first, however, this will be our ‘tone setter’.

It would be easy to over play the subtle humour in this scene and turn the Captain into a Captain Mainwaring (from BBC Comedy Dad’s Army) stereotype. This would not set the right overall tone for the play. Yes, there are funny moments in the play, but I think that the majority of these moments are based on relief theory. Michael Billig tells us in his book Laughter and Ridicule that;

Freud uses his relief theory to explain this type of laughter. If the theory attributes any motive to the adult audience, it is one of empathy (2005, p.170).

To me, the Captain is a man who is prone to distraction and rambling on about whatever seems to be in his head (It is this that put me in mind of the poem If by Rudyard Kipling, which I have discussed elsewhere on this blog). He is a man of some social standing; the clues are there in the text. For example, where he and Woyzeck discuss self control amongst the classes of their society. Therefore, I’ve given him an accent which I feel would suit him, and may be quite obvious and stereotypical anyway. Due to the distracted and self important nature of the character, I’ve allowed my delivery of lines to drift off, almost as if he’s going into a daydream, particularly when he talks about girls stockings!


Works cited:

Billig, Michael. (2005) Laughter and Ridicule. Towards a Social Critique of Humour. London: Sage.

Buchner, George (2008). Danton’s Death, Leonce and Lena, and Woyzeck. Translated and introduced by Victor Price. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Drum major

A drum major is the leader so to speak when a marching band or parade is on the move and was originally used as another method of communication duing a time of war by using short and precice rhythms and battle signals. Sometimes drum majors were even used to apply military punishment and justice with the use of many methods including whips and tasks. They are the front man and are dressed differently to the rest of the march, usually in an elaborate ornate patterned uniform so as to show a status of control.  As shown below:

I believe that this will be where I shall base the angry and self-rightious nature of the wartime character, he will seemingly see everyone else as ants scurrying before his mighty sense of self accoplishment and power. Since he is supposed to be a representative of military might I would present him as a man with almost no weakness in the production, this is because that is the image a man that would represent something as brutal as an army should be at any time.

“Even though Buchner deals with the theme of animals and animal nature, he reserves a traditionally “animalistic” portrayal for the Drum-Major. With his strutting, his plumed hat, and his chauvanistic attitude towards Marie, the Drum-Major seems like a rooster, interested in nothing more than copulating and propagating. He uses the words “breed” and “spawn” when referring to Marie, and also calls her a “hot bitch.” Society pens up sexuality so that when it emerges, as in the case of Marie and the Drum-Major’s affair, it is explosive.”

(gradesaver.1999-2011.Woyzeck article. http://www.gradesaver.com/woyzeck/study-guide/major-themes/)

In the scenes not yet covered in this piece the character of the drum major will be shown as a man that is also very demanding not only in his violence but also in his sexual appetites, it would seem that to achieve his goal he would even wrench the character of Marie away from Woyzeck.