The Oracle Theatre presents
At 3809 N. Broadway
Written by Georg Buchner
Translated by David Steiger
Directed by Max Truax
Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
EXTENDED thru May 21st
Running Time: Eighty minutes with no intermission
Audio Podcast at ITUNES
Narrated by Joshua Volkers
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
What drives a man to murder? Societal persecution of the working class? Suspicions of a girlfriend's flirtations? Or a steady diet of peas? Oracle Theatre presents Georg Buchner's WOYZECK. A young man struggles with his meager life. It's a close shave as he grooms berating elitists. The military are more about public servants than public service. It doesn't help that his girlfriend has a thing for men in uniforms. For a little pocket money, he's also the subject of medical experiments (i.e.: three months of eating only peas). Classist, romantic, pea-etarian woes gnaw at his psyche. Inadequacies lead to paranoid hallucinations. WOYZECK illustrates a man's derangement on and below the surface.
The stage is two levels. The floor slants up to reveal a catacomb maze. Designed by James Odgen with lighting by Eric Van Tassell, the visual effect is spectacular. As Woyzeck stumbles through his daily drudgery, other characters ascend and descend into his external or internal dialogue. Under the masterful direction of Max Truax, the talented ensemble merge reality and illusion. Above floor, the formal interactions split from conventional to delusional with a shift in position. Below floor, the movement scurries with a dark, nervous energy. The mysterious abyss eventually explodes into a full-on sexual fantasy. Aided by choreographer Lindsay Rose Kane, the tunnels turn erotic as Woyzeck imagines his worse fears... multiplied. Most of the ensemble blurs together in a black wig, red satin, dancing mirage. The impact is seriously fantastical.
Buchner's classic was incomplete at the time of his death in 1837. The Oracle's show features the adaptation by David Steiger. The Oracle Theatre has a commitment to fearless theatrical experiences. WOYZECK illustrates their mission with bi-level imagery that is amazingly gripping. The artistry is a unique interpretation that needs to be seen to be understood. And it's FREE! Oracle Theatre has established itself as a public access theatre sustained by donations not ticket sales. It's an innovative idea to introduce and educate the community about performing arts. WOYZECK is an inventive originality that should be accessed by the public.