Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Woyzeck: A Proper Murder

‘A PROPER MURDER,’ a good production of a convoluted script at Theater Ninjas

In his program notes to ‘WOYZECK, A PROPER MURDER,’ director Jeremy Paul states, “’WOYZECK’ was the first play I ever wanted to direct.” To be honest, I have no idea why of all the great plays written, Paul would pick this abstract, convoluted script as his heart’s desire.

‘WOYZECK,’ was written in the mid-1860’s by Georg Büchner. The script, which was found in segments with no clear structure, was left unfinished when Büchner died. It was completed by a variety of other writers.

The script deals with the dehumanization of a human being caused by human jealousy. It parallels the true story of a Christian Woyzeck, a wigmaker and soldier, who murdered his live-in mistress.

‘WOYZECK’ is supposedly a commentary on social conditions as well as an exploration of poverty and how circumstances in one’s life ultimately can push a person over the edge.

The Theater Ninja production, in spite of creative staging by Paul and fine acting by the cast, is a hard sit-through. Sebastian Hawkes Orr is properly maniacal as Woyzeck. Emily Pucell develops effectively the role of Marie, the woman Woyzeck is living with. The rest of the cast, Val Kozlenko, Elaine Feagler, Katelyn Cornelius, and Adam Seeholzer compently carry out the director’s concept.

Doing the play in the Asterick Gallery in Tremont adds to the abstract quality of the action as the actors dart in and out of the gallery’s display walls.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT: ‘WOYZECK, A PROPER MURDER,’ gets a fine production at Ninjas, but there is a caveat. The script will appeal to those who like abstract, experimental theatre. For those interested in a standard format of beginning, middle and end, with a clear message, this isn’t going to be their thing.