“On and on. On and on.” Life is a roundabout, constantly spinning. A person approaches here, words drift by there, lights, voices. For Woyzeck, life’s spinning only ever passes him by. “I think if we ever got to heaven, we'd have to help with the thunder”, he says. But here on earth, he has to first help the doctor with his medical experiments. Every morning, he goes to the Captain to help him. He has to go to the barracks, while Marie is at home. He loves her and he has a son with her. And he has to help there, too. More than he already does. But no matter what he does – it’s never enough. Neither in the eyes of the others nor in his own.
There are voices in Woyzeck’s head, and they too go on and on. And they whisper entirely different things for him to do: The roundabout spins faster and faster underneath a great moon, red like a “bloody blade”. There is little peace for Woyzeck. But when he does find peace and quiet, the voices are still there and even the earth beneath the fields whispers to him. And these voices tell Woyzeck about the Drum Major who has designs on Marie.
Woyzeck tries to escape. From the Captain, the Doctor and those voices. But they catch up with him. And Marie is caught up in Woyzeck’s jealousy. “Every man is a chasm”.
In 1821, Johann Christian Woyzeck stabbed the widow Woost, who was his lover, to death in Leipzig’s Vorstadt. He had previously been an apprentice in Leipzig and returned to the city after years as a soldier in various armies during the hither and thither of the Napoleonic liberation wars.
Like many others in Germany, Georg Büchner learned about this case in Leipzig, since its trial took three years and garnered a great deal of attention. As if beneath a burning lens, this case focussed several topics that had only recently become issues of general debate: Questions of criminal responsibility and insanity as well as social concerns about living circumstances and opportunities.
The court-appointed psychiatric evaluations created during the Woyzeck case are among the sources used in Büchner’s drama, but the author took great literary license. In a series of spotlights, Büchner’s “Woyzeck” lines up stages of an escalation with expressive emphasis – shining a glaring light on social hierarchies and chasms. Büchner’s drama remained a fragment – but perhaps it is precisely its fragmentary structure that makes it correspond with the story’s aspects and circumstances.
Schauspiel Leipzig’s artistic director Enrico Lübbe will take a new look at the material in Leipzig, following the 2011 Chemnitz drama production and the staging of Alban Berg’s opera version in 2017 in Erfurt, conducted by Joanna Mallwitz. Etienne Pluss, who received the Theatre Prize DER FAUST for his design of “Violetter Schnee” at Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden in 2019, will create the set. His work has most recently taken him to the Salzburg Festival (“Il Trittico”, directed by Christoph Loy) and, together with director Claus Guth, to the festival in Aix-en-Provence and to Teatro San Carlo in Naples.
Like Etienne Pluss, costume designer Bianca Deigner is a long-standing collaborator of Enrico Lübbe’s. In Leipzig, they created “Das kalte Herz”, “Winterreise / Winterreise” or “Die Maßnahme / Die Perser” together. Other work took Bianca Deigner to Theater Gera and Theater Freiburg, to Dom-Stufen Festival in Erfurt and to Opéra de Lille in co-operation with Philharmonie de Paris for Stockhausen’s “Freitag aus Licht”.
Following “Das kalte Herz” and “563”, the Leipzig-based musician Philip Frischkorn will create the music for “Woyzeck” at Schauspiel Leipzig.
From April 2024Der Fall Woyzeck (The Woyzeck Case)
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