Live Theatre Review - Woyzech Essay

Submitted By ella635
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Live Theatre Review – Woyzech
Ella Whittaker
Woyzech, by Splendid Productions was performed in a Brechtian style. Brechtian theatre aims to get the true moral across to the audience, without getting them involved in the play. Woyzech is about a man in the army who becomes part of a medical trial during which he can only eat peas and the subsequent effects this has on his life. This play was written in a series of episodes but the writer died before it was finished and put together.
Therefore, we can only guess what order the episodes should be played in. Splendid productions took this play and created a political production. They aimed to convey themes such as equality and demonstrate the differences throughout the class system.
As a Brechtian performance isn’t designed to be a piece of realism, we would expect to see minimal set, costume, light and props. Also, the audience isn’t ever supposed to feel immersed in the play. Splendid Productions use of a minimalistic set was very successful.
One of the most effective items was a sheet. This demonstrated both a change in scene and setting and created a backstage area on the stage. This was shown by hanging it over a clothes rail, from behind which the cast could complete the subtle changes in their costume. It was also used by being placed on the floor as a rug which instantly created
Woyzech’s house, also when it was wrapped around the General it created a barbers shop.
The red paint or ‘blood’ that singed the edges highlighted the sinister notion of the play and may have even foreshadowed the death of Marie.
House lights were up throughout the duration of the performance which enabled the audience to remain fully involved within the play and kept the play very much in the present, helping us to know that the play was not real.
The director’s intention to keep the cast in view helped the audience to get involved with the actors both in and out of character. The cast were both effective and comical.
All of the sound effects for the performance were created on the stage from two different stations of musical instruments and household objects. For example, every time Woyzech got hit in a fight another cast member hit a drum, which highlighted the fact that we were watching a performance. They used some highly comic sound effects such as a slider. This both made the audience laugh and brought them out of the story back into the knowledge that this is just a performance.
A main technique that was demonstrated all the way from the pre-show to the final scene was the use of actor and audience interaction. The actors began the show positioned in the audience having conversations with them. Whilst playing doctors, they told Woyzech that his wife would cheat on him and he didn’t believe them. After Woyzech left the room the doctors got the audience chanting the words “O yes she did!” When Woyzech reentered breaking the forth wall yet again, he believed them. The audience interaction was very successful as it made the audience feel like they were influencing Woyzech’s actions and that it was therefore their fault, proving it is a play that can be manipulated and not a real life or naturalistic piece of theatre.
Splendid Productions effectively used a minimal amount of costume. Therefore, they had to rely on their performance style and changes in voice. The actress who was playing
Marie also played other characters throughout the piece. Whilst playing Marie, she had a very common London accent and hunched posture but had very fluid movements.

However, whilst playing a Doctor, she had a Scottish accent and strong, open, manly posture. This both showed the audience that the actress had thought about her characters completely and helps to make the characters of Woyzech and Marie