When you type ‘Woyzeck’ into google images, some of our faces come up – from the pictures we uploaded into the biography!! Fun! =)
These were a few pictures I came across when looking into some costume ideas. Most of them are taken from Werner Herzog’s film Woyzeck, but it gave us a good insight to the style/colour we needed base our costume on. Some of the pictures are some examples of how other productions used costume. It was interested to see how they had interpret the play and the vision they had for the characters.
The dramaturg within our group…
I feel I have learned a lot about dramaturgy and the role of the dramaturg. Which is something I had no idea about at the beginning. In fact, I hadn’t even heard the term. Although know one took of the specific role of the dramaturg, we all contributed to the developing of ideas and the gathering of materials for the play. After discovering that the dramaturg has a huge role within a company/organisation, when applying all of the dramaturgical jobs to our performance, I think it would have been unfair to give one person the role of the dramaturg and that much responsibility. We cast the position of director in our very first session after decided on the groups, we then each took a job/responsibility in order to share the role. With Rachel as director. Kirsty, in charge of props, Sally in charge of lighting, Aaron in charge of sound. These were the main categorised roles. Martyn and Jimmy did a lot of research regarding using the space, concepts of spatiality and the use of promenade. Braden with the main role as Woyzeck did a lot of research around characterisation, as well as the staging and stage combat techniques during the fight scene.
I was responsible for costume, researching around costume ideas, researching what the characters wore in the original productions and in the film. Researching costumes suitable for the period and what can be portrayed through costume, for example, the masks for the circus characters. I made an visit to the costume/props stores in attempt to find the majority of costume that we needed. However the style or sizing was not quite right. The success of my rummaging lead me to find a suitable cap for the sergeant. I think this created a appropriate look for the sergeant, which really suggested his authoritative status that a green army jacket and black trousers couldn’t have created on their own.
Luckily, most costume we needed for the performance didn’t need to be anything outrageous or unique. We mostly needed green/army style jackets, which Rachel had at home. The majority of the cast wore blacks underneath, which again we all had in our own wardrobes. Kirsty and I, took a shop around for Marie and Margaret’s costumes. We wanted something feminine, to emphasise to womanly side to Marie that attracts the drum-major, but nothing too fancy. We still wanted to display the home-house wife look about Marie in order to suggest her middle class status.
Sally managed to find the costume for the showman within her own wardrobe. I had previously posted some pictures that I thought might work. More than anything I wanted the audience to be able to distinguish Sally’s character as the showman, in order to emphasise her as kind of a story teller, or the one the audience should listen to and follow. I felt that if we could create this connection between Sally’s character and the audience they would be more inclined to follow, therefore ensuring the smooth transitions within the promenade. Whether or not a characters costume has the ability to convey this, I do not know!
The doctors scene, required five lab coats. Aaron and Jimmy managed to borrow these. The look of the lab coats combined with the white drapes and brightly lit space created a clinical atmosphere. We wanted Woyzeck to feel under examination as a part of his pea-only diet experiment. The white also made a great contrast to the snap blackouts, especially as it takes a seconds for the eye to adjust to the surrounding light.
Despite having particular responsibilities, the whole group contributed towards the process leading up to the final performance. We all created the role of the dramaturg together. At least this way we can all be identified as dramaturgical contributors and know ones work goes un recognised. If you refer to my text on ‘The role of the dramaturg’ you will understand what I mean. However I’m not sure it really makes sense when applying it to our organisation. But anyway, please feel free to add anything else, perhaps some personal contribution that I may have missed.
Go Team Woyzeck!
More than anything I wanted to add a little note of thanks to you all! Its been a challenge to work in a large group, especially a group of 8. The throwing around of ideas and suggestions can something cause abit of a debate or conflict, and i’m sure there were a few moments of this. Generally I feel we all contributed some great ideas and we managed to listen to everyone and develop these into the performance. I have already mentioned how less-stressed I have felt for this module in particular, I think thats because we had an enthusiastic and commited team, even with 3 members of the group who commute everyday, so thank you to you guys who had the extra effort of travelling. I have throughly enjoyed this module and working with you guys =) What a fab performance, if im totally honest, I didn’t expect for our audience, particularly the tutors to be as impressed as they were. Not because I think the performance didnt involve a lot of be impressed with. I guess seeing the performance from an outsiders point of view creates a whole different perspective. Being involved in the process removes the element of mystery and anticpation in comparison to first time spectator. Which is why I think the promenade was so successful. The audience can engage with the action and literallymove with the play. This adds a whole new dimension to the theatrical experience in comparison to what is usually expected when you prepare to watch a play.
Looking foward to working with you again soon. In the mean time, have a relaxing reading week!
Johann Christian Woyzeck
Johann Christian Woyzeck, a key figure in a murder case that took place on June 3, 1821 in Leipzig, Germany. Johann Christian Woyzeck was titled as a criminal after he confessed to stabbing his 46 year old wife to death. In a state of jealous rage he stabbed her a total of seven times.
Johann Christian Woyzeck had a tough upbringing, as well as being raised into poverty Woyzeck had a unsettled life, aimlessly drifting through a variety of professions; barber, solider, tailor, bookbinder, manservant, till finally he decided upon of the life of a criminal.
The murder case dragged on for years after, becoming sensational news. The majority of the legal delays were a due to the question of Woyzecks mental state before and after the crime. It was said that Woyzeck was mentally unstable and suffered from diminished mental capacity. This was the first time in German history that an insanity defence was used. Doctors were required to investigate his sanity further and report back to the courts. Forensic expert Dr. J.A Clarus examined Woyzeck over a three year period. Within the first three months of Woyzecks arrest, it was announced that despite his mental condition and behaviour Woyzeck was still capable of understanding the concept of ‘right and wrong’ and therefore would therefore take full responsibility for his actions and should receive punishment. Woyzeck was sentenced to death, however, a year and a half later this sentence had still not being carried out, therefore Dr. Clarus was to examine the prisoner further. Due to Woyzecks time as a prisoner awaiting a death sentence, his condition, though worsened was still regarding as sane enough to receive punishment.
A further eighteenth months later Woyzeck was beheaded. A public execution took place in the main square of Leipzig on August 27, 1824. This same year Dr. J.A Clarus published his findings which medically suggested that Woyzeck was borderline schizophrenic.
This true story is now loosely based on the famous play Woyzeck by George Buchner, written in 1836, but not performed until 1914. It is interesting to consider why Buchner may have used this particular case to influence his writing. During the period in which the crime of Johann Christian Woyzeck took place, Georg Buchner would have been seven years old, but as mentioned previously the crime produced a huge amount of exposure, Buchner potentially, could have read or seen some of these accounts. It seems relevant to compare Georg Buchner to character of Woyzeck. Perhaps Buchner himself could in some way relate to Johann Christian Woyzeck as person, therefore writing the character of Woyzeck in the play as a reflection of him
Although Woyzecks character was influenced by Woyzeck the person, maybe Buchner saw a side of himself in both. There are some connections between the key moments in Buchners life that may reflect or have at least influenced the play. For example, Buchner himself was involved in a crime, less malicious than in Woyzeck, Buchner was wanted for arrest after attempting to bring about a revolution, starting with the distribution of Der Hessische Landbote (The Hesse Country Messenger) Which was a pamphlet aimed at the peasantry, but also viewed as an act of treason. Buchner escaped arrest, but remained under strict police surveillance for his political undertakings. Also involved in Buchners rebellious politics, a man named Minnegerode, best friend of Buchner, who ended up taking the punishment. Buchner witnessed the torture and starvation upon Minnegerode that lead him to his death. The stress and guilt that Buchner carried triggered his gradual decline in sanity. Buchner died at the age of 23, from what was actually a survivable fever, however his mental state caused by his tormented conscience left him with no strength.
The fragmented play Woyzeck left behind reveals very similar reflections from Buchners own experiences. A clear observation that Woyzeck was not only based on the murder case of Johann Christian Woyzeck, but contains flashes on Buchners life as well.
The picture below is a German Newspaper Announcement. Translated into English at the right if the picture.
German Newspaper Annoucement:
The hereinafter named GEORG BÜCHNER, a medical student from Darmstadt, has absented himself from the Judicial Enquiry into his alleged participation in treasonable activities by leaving the Fatherland.
The authorities, both at home and abroad, are hereby requested to arrest this man on sight and to deliver him safely to the office below.
Darmstadt 13 June 1835.
High Court Judge of the Archduchy of Hesse, appointed Judge of the Upper Hesse Court of Enquiry.
- Height: 6 shoes, 9 thumbs (new Hessian measure)
- Hair: Fair
- Forehead: Prominent and Rounded
- Eyebrows: Fair
- Nose: Large
- Mouth: Small
- Face: Oval
- Colouring: Fresh
- Figure: Powerful, Slender
- Special Peculiarities: Short-sighted
http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/parade/abj76/PG/pieces/buchner.shtml (Accessed on 02/03/11)
http://sites.duke.edu/woyzeck/about/about-the-playwright/ (Accessed on 02/03/11)
http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2240082196&topic=2108 (Accessed on 02/03/11)
(Written By Amie)