- From: March 8, 2020
- To: March 8, 2020
- Starting at: 12:00 PM
- Finishing at: 02:00 PM
- The Old Fire Station
- 2a Norwood High Street
- SE27 9NS
- United Kingdom
by Georg Buchner
Director: John Irvine
Performances: June 2-6, 2020
First rehearsal: April 5, 2020
Synopsis and background
Plagued by haunting voices and a paranoid fear of conspiracy, Franz Woyzeck is a man trying to make sense of things and failing. Struggling to make ends meet, he lends his body to medical experimentation. But his distrust and anger spiral until, in an attempt to make the real and imagined voices stop for good, he takes a knife…
Woyzeck is probably the most modern early 19th-century play you will read. It’s almost proto-Brecht. As a play, it’s a compelling mixture of naturalism and expressionism, with surreal elements and dark humour.
Woyzeck is a story about ordinary people in difficult circumstances who have to find their own moral compass and way in the world. It has a lower-class “hero” who is also the villain of the piece and all of the “better classes” are shown to be lacking in morals or basic humanity. It touches on anti-semitism, racism, xenophobia, oppression of the lower classes, self-righteousness of the upper classes – it could almost be a commentary on Brexit Britain.
A soldier is manipulated and abused by his army superiors and turned into a specimen for cruel experiments by the medical establishment, and is betrayed by the woman he loves, with devastating consequences. And it’s based on a true story.
Buchner died at the age of 23 before he could finish the play and left four incomplete versions, which have been adapted and reworked by countless editors and directors ever since.
Now it’s our turn. This is our version and we will adapt the text to suit the cast, while remaining true to Buchner’s vision.
All ages are for guidance only. I will consider female actors for male parts and vice versa, but the characters will not change: eg Woyzeck is a male character but could be played by a female actor or an actor who does not identify as specifically male.
IMPORTANT: Given the nature of the play, the actor playing Woyzeck will be needed for every rehearsal. The company will be rehearsing through all the bank holidays in April and May and full cast and crew are needed for the get in date (24 May 2020).
Woyzeck Male, 28-38: Soldier, with additional duties as batman to the Captain. Struggling with life. An outsider, never quite fitting in. Haunted, harried, clearly ill, and getting worse.
Andres Male, 25-30: Fellow soldier. Closest thing to a friend for Woyzeck. Strangely detached from his friend’s suffering.
Marie Female, 25-30: Woyzeck’s “common-law wife” (girlfriend) and mother of his child.
Drum-Major Male, 25-35: Specially privileged senior N.C.O, used as a mascot and for recruitment purposes, chosen for physique, splendidly uniformed; excused normal duties. A man’s man, full of spunk.
The Captain Male, 30-40: The regiment’s captain for whom Woyzeck acts as batman. Represents the upper/landed classes.
The Doctor Male, 40-60: A local doctor who also acts as the regimental medical officer. Obsessed with making a name for himself, although time is slipping by. Conducts experiments on Woyzeck. Represents the middle/professional classes.
Policeman Male, 30-60: The village constable. Trying to maintain peace and order as best he can. He doesn’t make the rules – he just enforces them.
Margaret Female, 40-60: Marie’s neighbour. Older, more worldly-wise. She’s seen it all before. Disapproves of Marie’s lifestyle, but helps out with her child as a “good neighbour”. Might be doubled with the old woman.
Showman Male, any: From the travelling fair. All the world’s a stage, etc. Showman by name, showman by nature.
Sergeant Male, any: Associate of the Drum-Major. Thick as thieves with him.
1st Journeyman (Johann) Male, any: One of two artisans beyond apprenticeship – recently qualified, pockets full of cash, and out for a good time
2nd Journeyman (Christian) Male, any: One of two artisans beyond apprenticeship – recently qualified, pockets full of cash, and out for a good time
Jew (shopkeeper) Male, any: A shopkeeper who sells Woyzeck a knife. A persecuted and downtrodden individual who can still look down on Woyzeck.
Grandmother Female, 40-60: Old woman with a strange tale for children. Might be doubled with Margaret.
plus townspeople, fairground performers, children, soldiers and musicians.
Please fill out this form and bring it to the audition.
Any questions please email the director, John.