Wednesday 2nd March we had our Tech Rehearsal ready for the Dramaturgy performance on Thursday evening. Due to the nature of our performance our tech requirements are not anything spectacular or complicated. For the shaving scene we turn out the main lights in the LPAC and just use the small lamp lights that are on either side of the auditorium, these give us enough light for the audience to see the actors but not too much that it kills any atmosphere created by Braden and Martyn. The shaving scene has come a long way during the course of rehearsals and now looks really good and the little touch where Woyzeck keeps the shaving blade hovering dangerously close to the Captains throat gives a good indication of Woyzeck’s possible state of mind.
The next scene in the sequence is the Showman who invites the audience up the stairs. Again for this scene all the main lights are off and the only lighting is the small lights on the stairs themselves. In order to create a creepy atmosphere for the circus freaks to do their thing in we plan on putting blue and green gels over these lights. This will not only give us some interesting coloured lighting but will also hopefully make the lights not quite so bright as they are because it really doesn’t fit with the dark and creepy theme we have for the performance as a whole. The masks we have for the circus freaks look fantastic and with the coloured lights they should look even better.
The Drum Major scene is pretty straight forward all we need for this scene is all the main lights in the corridor turned out but we leave the lights on in the corridor where the loos are, to give enough light to be able to see the characters when they get down towards the lift.
For the final two scenes the performance moves into Studio 2. With this being inside the studio itself we can really go to town with light effects if we want to. We are having some muslin curtains to mask out most of the studio to create a confined and clinical space. We are using bright lights to create a clinical feel within the scene; we are also using spot lights on Woyzeck in order to isolate him from the rest of the world. The two spots on Woyzeck are coloured blue and green; we are using these colours to help create a surreal and distorted world for Woyzeck himself to exist in.
I think on Thursday we need to have at least one run through before the performance. As far as costume is concerned there is few things that I need to sort out in terms of fixing small pieces of costume, but everything else seems to be in order in that department. I’m really looking forward to our performance so all that’s left for me to say is – BRING IT ON!!!!
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!
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.
With the extra rehearsals outside of our scheduled Dramaturgy sessions we have come along leaps and bounds. We have been able to meet alot more regularly enabling us to really crack on with the rehearsal process.
This week we have started to work with bits of props and costume, this has been especially important for our opening scene (Shaving scene) This was a great chance for Braden and Martyn to pratice working with the props and experiment with the timing of the scene.
Everyone has now learned there lines!…perhaps a few slips/reminders here and there but a good effort all the same. This has made a real difference to the rehearsals and we can now all forget about flicking through/ holding the script and really start to focus on the details of the play such as blocking and characterisation. We can also start to concentrate on the meaning of the lines and the context of each scene and how this might reflect on our overall interpretation/vision of the play. It is also important for us to consider (from an audiences perspective) how easy it is to follow and understand the performance, when taking into account the disjointed nature of the script.
We have had very beneficial week with regards to rehearsals and sessions with the whole Dramaturgy group. We had the chance to present some of our work and it was great opportunity to receive some feedback from an outsiders point of view. Looking foward to our Sunday evening rehearsal (hopefully an empty LPAC!) giving us the chance to use the space without any distractions…I guess thats promenade theatre for you.
Onwards and upwards for the Woyzeck team!