Woyzeck by Georg Buchner
The Year 13 production of the play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner recently took place at Ogstoun Theatre. Although less well known in the UK, the play is one of the most influential plays in German theatre. It was written by Büchner just before his early death in 1837 but left incomplete. It has since been posthumously ‘finished’ and adapted by a variety of different authors. This production was watched by the audience as a promenade production; rather than having a static audience, the actors played out the powerful and occasionally disturbing scenes in various locations around Ogstoun, as the audience moved to where they were. It was a great show, dark and disturbing at times, always interesting and dynamic and packed full of energy and movement.
Franz Woyzeck, a lowly soldier stationed in a provincial German town, is living with Marie, the mother of his child who is not blessed by the church as it was born out of wedlock. Woyzeck earns extra money for his family by performing menial jobs for the Captain and agreeing to take part in medical experiments conducted by the Doctor. At one of these experiments, the Doctor tells Woyzeck that he must eat nothing but peas. It is obvious that Woyzeck's mental health is breaking down and he begins to experience a series of apocalyptic visions.
Meanwhile, Marie grows tired of Woyzeck and turns her attentions to a handsome drum major. With his jealous suspicions growing, Woyzeck confronts the drum major, who beats him up and humiliates him. Finally, Woyzeck stabs Marie to death by a pond. While a third act trial is claimed to have been part of the original conception (what may be the beginning of a courtroom scene survives), the fragment, as left by Büchner, ends with Woyzeck disposing of the knife in the pond while trying to clean himself of the blood. Most versions employ Woyzeck's drowning as an appropriate resolution to the story.