Every autumn term, SUDS puts on a play with a cast comprised entirely of Freshers. This year, that play is ‘Woyzeck’ by George Buchner. It is a play about madness, poverty, science and peas.Franz Woyzeck is a poor soldier and in order to support himself, his mistress and his illegitimate child, he must perform a series of degrading and demeaning jobs. For example, he works as a human guinea pig for the local doctor, eating nothing but peas. This cruel treatment eventually drives Woyzeck mad and when he discovers his mistress has been having an affair, his actions are brutal and unexpected.
With its strong language and irredeemable antihero, Buchner’s play caused outrage when it was first produced and was only performed for the first time a hundred years after his death.
Buchner died from typhoid before the play was finished and the result is a series of sketches, rather than scenes. The play is therefore fast and exciting and has provided the cast with a lot of opportunities for innovative staging and performance.
Incorporating puppetry and physical work, the production breaks with convention and delivers something by turns brilliantly funny, brutally violent and profoundly sad. A transformed Debating Chamber plays host to this, with the audience stood in the centre, observing the action going on around them.
The rehearsals have often been challenging, as the production has introduced many of the cast to a far more physical style of performing than they’re used to, but the hard work has paid off, lending the play a unique style. All the production now needs is an audience to appreciate it.
Catch ‘Woyzeck’ at the Debating Chamber on the 26th, 27th and 28th of November. Tickets cost £5. or £4 for SUDS members, with a pound off on Wednesday.