'Woyzeck'- An ambiguous play from an ambiguous context, giving a potential director creative freedom to interpret it how they wish. The director(s) of tonights performance chose the setting of apartheid South Africa, and used puppets to tell the sorrowful and tragic tale of a man's demise towards killing his partner.
Woyzeck, the main character, has the potential to appear as the antagonist of the play. However in this setting of injustice and inequality it is difficult to percieve him to be anything other than a victim of society (and perhaps a victim of mental illness also). The actors behind the puppets manage to bring to life the characters and bring out the raw emotion behind the conflicts; of which the text alone can not achieve, in my opinion, as effectively. Here we see Woyzeck as a man struggling to keep his life in order and his family together, rather than what I had previously percieved as a dismissive partner too wrapped up in his own mindset that he is lead to murder; this ultimate act being a contrast with the empathy obtained throughout for this socially and mentally oppressed character.
Aside from the general storyline, this production effectively demonstrated the technical and physical capeabilities of the actors in captivating movements, these skills somewhat undermined by the realism of the puppets. It was difficult to consider that they weren't characters in their own right, but rather controlled by the strong vocals and movements of the actors. I feel the use of puppetry was an interesting interpretation on the play as it allowed a large element of charactature to be added. The scientist for example appropriately engulfed the stereotype of a mad scientist, particularly through the use of voice giving the character a disturbance and villanous edge.
Another aspect I felt to be highly effective and unique was the staging, main aspect of which being the use of projection. It was as though the screen acted as a portal into Woyzecks mentality, using both intricate and expressive chalk drawings to give a visually captivating and somewhat hypnotic interpretation of a man's psychological struggle. The imagery behind the whole production was incredible, allowing the audience to be completely engulfed into the world of the characters and invest in their lives; which is an incredible achievement considering the characters were clearly inhuman.