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A passionless Woyzeck from Robert Wilson in London


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 05 October 2002 - 08:09 AM

A new Robert Wilson production, from today's London Telegraph:

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.

#2 Ed Waffle

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Posted 05 October 2002 - 05:28 PM

This might as well be a 21st century work. "Woyzeck", by Robert Wilson, music by Tom Waits, based on the play "Woyzeck" by Georg Buchner would be a good way to bill it, especially since a good bit of the text was cut int order to find time for Waits' songs.

I have never been a fan of Waits--well perhaps for a few hours many years ago, but one of his songs goes a long way--but the reviewer was:

"In his early days, when he growled out bleary bar-room ballads about booze and broads, I was a fan of Waits, but he has become increasingly pretentious in recent years, probably as a result of his frequent collaborations with the dreadful Wilson."

"Woyzeck" is one of these works that can be everything to everybody, so it will probably survive this onslaught. It was written in 1837 but the manuscript was not discovered until the late 19th century. Lots of people claimed it as a precurser of their own plays.

Marxists like Georg Lucas hailed it as anticipating dilectical materialism and the hopeless position of the proletariat in capitalist society.

Brecht and other Expressionists saw it as the basis for their own anti-naturalist style.

Psychoanalytic critics see "Woyzeck" as an accurate description of paranoid/schizophrenia.

And there is the opea "Wozzeck" music and libretto by Alban Berg, by which it is best known in the United States. Berg attended the first Viennese performance of Buchner's play in 1914.


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