Since Georg Buechner died at the the age of twenty-three in 1837, the theatre has been wrestling with the fragments of a play that he wrote based on the story of a soldier named Woyzeck. Woyzeck, saw visions strange visions, and murdered the mother of his child and despite a court defense on the basis of insanity was publicly executed by beheading.
IU’s intimate T-300 theatre has taken up the challenge of the play’s fragments with a beautifully mounted and executed production directed by Dale McFadden. This "Woyzeck" winds the play’s realistic social concerns with the isolation and alienation of the individual through a disciplined and structured hour and a half that has a variety of rhythms, but few pauses for breath.
The cast was uniformly used to good effect. All but the principals sat on benches on either side of the stage. And even when out of the action, the actors were never out of character.
Timothy Hanna made Woyzeck a sympathetic figure even as I was repelled by his insanity, his worm like pandering and his ultimate violence. Oliver Baldner showed just how actively and actor can portray a listening companion. Sabrina Woodruff played the full baffling range from slut to dignified demi-virgin as Woyzeck’s girl friend Marie. In one of the scariest images from the production Maria Hudnall, as a canny circus barker, eerily juggled three balls while and offering Woyzeck a knife that she held between her teeth. M. Andrew Schmid was appropriately majestic and beastial as Wozeck’s rival, the drum major. Jeff Radue was the coldly medical doctor who’s only interest in the poor soldier was as a subject for his dietary experiments.
Great credit for the impact of the T-300 production of "Woyzeck" goes to the costume and makeup design of Robbie Stanton coupled with the very active lighting of David Lapham.. All the characters were hollow eyed, pale and yet strangely glowing. Although the setting and general atmosphere of the play is gritty realism, the picture was most definitely decadent pre Raphaelite.