stage director

„Woyzeck“, a parable about the strangeness of fate

The Theatre of Belarusian Dramatic Art had an opening of Georg Büchner’s “Woyzeck”

This tragedy is about life and death, out of time and place. Somehow there was a feeling that the performance would be dismal and melodramatic. But despite that anticipation “Woyzeck” was capturing and easy to see all the way till the end without effort. Notwithstanding the seriousness and classical origin of the play, the show flows very naturally. The director Monika Dobrowlanska and scenographer Alena Igrusha managed to make it a very realistic production, but this is not a grey and sweltering academic soviet style – Woyzeck’s is rather light and quite relative, like that of a parable. Although the first seeing does not let one understand fully every hero, and not all turns of the plot are that clear, still after the show one gets a feeling of poetic sadness. Yet Woyzeck himself has it quite harsh: “Everything goes to Hell!”

I should remind that the play’s main protagonist is a soldier, who kills his beloved out of jealousy, apparently out of hopelessness, life in poverty and sickness.

The relations between the play’s heroes, just as the whole fabric of this story, are rather simple and clear, but one can also find here the aloof and epic of many human problems. And definitely one feels something subtly Belarusian, apart from the two languages spoken in the play. Maybe this is something in the life of Woyzeck himself (Sergey Kovalsky), and in the circumstances, which he currently cannot resist to. The hero is so helpless before reality that he can only break through by committing a crime. And then this is when he loses not only Maria (Svetlana Zelenkovskaya) but also himself. “Woyzeck speeds through his life like an open razorblade” explains a bit vaguely but somewhat prophetically the Captain (Oleg Garbuz). The total system of oppressing a personality can make a small man its tiny detail, but there is a point of no return, when a man is no longer capable to lead the life of a tin soldier. It turns out he still has a soul inside, naive, and honest, far from the outside beauty. The Woyzeck by Sergey Kovalsky is admirable, and that people consider him an inferior neurasthenic is not his problem but that of the society he lives in. Or most probably Büchner himself decided to distance the protagonist’s image from the society.

The most vivid role played in this show is that by Anna Hitrik. Her Doctor comes from the country of Bosch’s images – grotesque, merry, wicked – he is all that in one person. But this doctor is also a true grave-digger, he does not bring medicine, but a system of oppression, experiment on a man, where a diet of peas and “a beautiful murder” are both part of the same program. A medical check-up, where the patient is not seen nor treated, but only a certain scheme is being analysed – is in essence the inhumanity of human relations. They all together sell Woyzeck a knife, and then start singing and praying. As if they begin to regret. And again they altogether pass their sentence on Woyzeck, although the piece does not have an end.

Still the Captain remains the most mysterious role for me. He both laughs at Woyzeck and taunts him, but himself keeps suffering: “What can I do? Only “quick march!”” Just because of this character the show is to be seen for the second time. Maria in her turn is quite clear and natural – in her female affections, in her beauty, her sin, her fate. She organically fits into her environment, her life and even her death. Only Woyzeck is amazed that sin can be so beautiful: “Why doesn’t God blow out the sun so that everything can roll around in lust, man and woman, man and beast. “

Let us wish the play success for the future shows. It is still to get its real strength and roll before its audience with all the facets of tragedy, which the young actors of National Kupala Theatre can certainly manage. “Woyzeck” bears so many meanings, associations, so much subtlety and truth – it will certainly become the main hit of the coming season.

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