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 spirals until, in an attempt to make the real and imagined voices stop for good, he takes a knife…
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, and self-righteousness of the upper classes – it could almost be a commentary on post-Brexit Britain.
Woyzeck is probably the most modern early 19th-century play you will read. It’s almost proto-Brechtian. As a play, it’s a compelling mixture of naturalism and expressionism, with surreal elements and dark humour. 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.