A harrowing classic robbed of passion
There was an edgy start to the first night of Robert Wilson's production of Woyzeck. The show began late, and a section of the audience began a slow hand-clap. "Patience," urged a reverent fan of the avant-garde maestro, in an infuriatingly school-masterly manner. "What the hell for?" responded a bolshie voice from the back of the class. It was all far more dramatic than anything Wilson was to supply in the show that followed
Wilson is clearly troubled by the strange reluctance of some British reviewers to acknowledge his genius as a director and designer. "You can't believe the things these Bugs Bunnies write," he observed the other day. "England is still in thrall to a naturalistic kind of theatre. You're used to seeing emotions being thrust upon the public."
The trouble with Wilson is that he comes across as a modish interior decorator rather than a director. In his hands, the story of a schizophrenic soldier who stabs his common-law wife to death when he discovers she has been unfaithful seems more like an installation in Tate Modern than a play of passion and terror.
Ah, so the 20th century, too, will be unsafe from Tamperers.