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Woyzeck

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The play we know today as Woyzeck began as a drawerful of fragments left by a brilliant 22-year-old playwright who died of typhus in 1836. A handful of hallucinatory scenes sketch the tale of a man, conditionally programmed by medical science, who commits a terrible crime. The real-life source had been the O.J. Simpson case of the 1820s: a sensational jealously-murder that sparked debate about the treatment of the insane. Büchner’s unfinished script lay dormant until it was published in 1879 and finally produced in 1913 (Alban Berg composed the well-known operatic version—Wozzeck—in 1925). Today Woyzeck is recognized as a modernist classic, posing an intriguing challenge for every director who approaches it. Each production must interpret and arrange the pieces according to its own vision. Using a new translation by Gideon Lester, director Marcus Stern is assembling an emotional and moving jigsaw puzzle, at once goofy and tragic, sexy and heartbreaking.

SYNOPSIS

Franz Woyzeck is an impoverished soldier in a small town. Bullied by his Captain and subjected to bizarre medical experimentation by an army doctor, Woyzeck’s nerves are already strained when he begins to suspect that his common-law wife, Marie, is having an affair with a Drum-Major. Through a series of vignettes, the play charts his increasing distrust and anger until, overcome with jealousy and despair, Woyzeck is driven to destroy the only thing he has ever loved.

Credits

Creative team

by

Georg Büchner

Translated by

Gideon Lester

Translated by

Gideon Lester

Gideon Lester (Director, 08/09 Season) previously served as the American Repertory Theater's acting artistic director, associate artistic director, and resident dramaturg. His recent translations include Marivaux’s Island of Slaves (directed by Robert Woodruff at the A.R.T. in 2006) and La Dispute, Brecht’s Mother Courage, Büchner’s Woyzeck, and two texts by the French playwright Michel Vinaver, King and Overboard. His play Amerika or the Disappearance, adapted from Franz Kafka’s first novel, was staged at the A.R.T. in 2005, directed by Dominique Serrand. His other adaptations include Wings of Desire (the A.R.T. and Toneelgroep Amsterdam, 2006), Anne Frank, and Enter the Actress, a one-woman show that he devised for Claire Bloom. Born in London in 1972, Gideon studied English literature at Oxford University. In 1995 he came to the States on a Fulbright grant and Frank Knox Memorial Scholarship to study dramaturgy at the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. He teaches dramaturgy at the A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training and playwriting at Harvard.

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Directed by

Marcus Stern

In the Body of the World

Directed by

Marcus Stern

Associate Director of the American Repertory Theater and the A.R.T./ MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and Head Of Directing for Theater, Dance and Media at Harvard University.  His directorial work with the A.R.T. has included The Onion Cellar with The Dresden Dolls, Donnie Darko (adaptor/director/sound designer), Beckett’s Endgame, Adam Rapp's Nocturne, Suzan Lori Parks' The America Play, Adrienne Kennedy's The Ohio State Murders, Büchner's Woyzeck, Sam Shepard's Buried Child, and Christopher Durang’s Marriage of Bette and Boo (also at NYU and Harvard University). A.R.T. Institute: A Bright New Boise, The Flu Season, The 4th Graders Present An Unnamed Love-Suicide, Beckett Shorts: (Not I, Footfalls, Play, Rough For Radio II, Breath, Come and Go), Donnie Darko. Other: Hang Ong's The Chang Fragments and Martin Crimp's The Treatment at The Joseph Papp Public Theater; Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits at Theater Neumarkt in Zurich; Jose Rivera's Marisol at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival; Mac Wellman's Hyacinth Macaw at Primary Stages in New York; Instant Girl's On the Run at Dance Theater Workshop; Mac Wellman's The Land of Fog and Whistles at the Whitney Museum Biennial; Neena Beber's The Living Goddess at The Magic Theater; Erin Cressida Wilson's Cross Dressing in the Depression at Soho Rep; and Quincy Long's Whole Hearted at the Mark Taper Forum's Taper Too in Los Angeles. His adaptations include Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits (Zurich), Phoebe's Got Three Sisters (Cucaracha Theater in New York) and O'Neill's The Great God Brown at NYU and Harvard University.  He's currently working with ArtsEmerson on his adaptation of Don Delillo's short story, "Hammer & Sickle" for the stage. Mr. Stern has taught at the Yale School of Drama, New York University, and Columbia University. He currently teaches at Harvard University, Harvard's Extension School, and A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training.

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Set design by

Allison Koturbash

Set design by

Allison Koturbash

Allison Koturbash, the set designer for Woyzeck, previously created the sets for the American Repertory Theater productions of Buried Child, The Accident, Demons, and The America Play. Her work includes Juliet of the Spirits at Theater Neumarkt, Zurich; Life Is a Dream at the Los Angeles Theatre Center; Largo Desolato at the Yale Repertory Theatre; Phoebe Got Three Sisters at La Cucaracha Theater; Hamletmachine at the Yale School of Drama; Rough for Radio II and Catastrophe at Home for Contemporary Theatre.

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Costume design by

Catherine Zuber

Costume design by

Catherine Zuber

Catherine Zuber has created the costumes for Richard II, The Doctor's Dilemma, and over forty other A.R.T. productions including Three Farces and a Funeral, Antigone, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, Ivanov, Phaedra, The Merchant of Venice, Valparaiso, The Imaginary Invalid, The Taming of the Shrew, Peter Pan and Wendy, The Bacchae, Man and Superman, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, Woyzeck, The Wild Duck, The Naked Eye, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Tartuffe, Ubu Rock, Waiting for Godot, The Oresteia, Shlemiel the First, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, A Touch of the Poet, What the Butler Saw, The Cherry Orchard, and Orphée. Ms. Zuber's credits include work at Lincoln Center, The Joseph Papp Public Theater, Goodman Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera, among others. Her Broadway credits include The Triumph of Love (Connecticut Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk nomination), Ivanov (Drama Desk nomination), The Sound of Music, Twelfth Night, The Red Shoes, London Assurance, The Rose Tattoo, and Philadelphia Here I Come. Ms. Zuber was the recipient of the 1997 Obie Award for sustained achievement in design. She is the costume designer for La Fête des Vignerons de 1999, the massive Festival of the Winegrowers in Vevey, Switzerland.

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Lighting design by

Scott Zielinski

Lighting design by

Scott Zielinski

A.R.T.: Endgame, Julius Caesar, Donnie Darko, Oliver Twist, Three Sisters, Dido Queen of Carthage, Peter Pan and Wendy, Woyzeck, Black Snow. New York: Topdog/Underdog (Broadway), Classic Stage Company, Joseph Papp Public Theater, Lincoln Center Festival, Manhattan Theater Club, New York Theater Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theater, Theater for a New Audience, among others. International: Productions in Adelaide, Amsterdam, Berlin, Edinburgh, Fukuoka, Goteborg, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Linz, London, Luang Prabang, Lyon, Orleans, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Reykjavik, Rotterdam, Singapore, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna, Vilnius, and Zurich. Dance: American Dance Festival, Joyce Theater, Kennedy Center (all with Twyla Tharp), American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Centre National de la Danse, Houston Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet. Opera: Arizona Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, English National Opera, Gotham Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lithuanian National Opera, Minnesota Opera, Nederlandse Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Colorado, Pittsburgh Opera, San Francisco Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Toronto Opera. Upcoming: The White Snake for New Vision Festival (Hong Kong), Sydney Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, and Edinburgh Festival, The Magic Flute for Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), and Achterbahn, a new Judith Weir opera for Bregenz Festival (Austria) and the Royal Opera House (London)

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In the Body of the World

Sound design by

Marcus Stern

Associate Director of the American Repertory Theater and the A.R.T./ MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and Head Of Directing for Theater, Dance and Media at Harvard University.  His directorial work with the A.R.T. has included The Onion Cellar with The Dresden Dolls, Donnie Darko (adaptor/director/sound designer), Beckett’s Endgame, Adam Rapp's Nocturne, Suzan Lori Parks' The America Play, Adrienne Kennedy's The Ohio State Murders, Büchner's Woyzeck, Sam Shepard's Buried Child, and Christopher Durang’s Marriage of Bette and Boo (also at NYU and Harvard University). A.R.T. Institute: A Bright New Boise, The Flu Season, The 4th Graders Present An Unnamed Love-Suicide, Beckett Shorts: (Not I, Footfalls, Play, Rough For Radio II, Breath, Come and Go), Donnie Darko. Other: Hang Ong's The Chang Fragments and Martin Crimp's The Treatment at The Joseph Papp Public Theater; Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits at Theater Neumarkt in Zurich; Jose Rivera's Marisol at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival; Mac Wellman's Hyacinth Macaw at Primary Stages in New York; Instant Girl's On the Run at Dance Theater Workshop; Mac Wellman's The Land of Fog and Whistles at the Whitney Museum Biennial; Neena Beber's The Living Goddess at The Magic Theater; Erin Cressida Wilson's Cross Dressing in the Depression at Soho Rep; and Quincy Long's Whole Hearted at the Mark Taper Forum's Taper Too in Los Angeles. His adaptations include Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits (Zurich), Phoebe's Got Three Sisters (Cucaracha Theater in New York) and O'Neill's The Great God Brown at NYU and Harvard University.  He's currently working with ArtsEmerson on his adaptation of Don Delillo's short story, "Hammer & Sickle" for the stage. Mr. Stern has taught at the Yale School of Drama, New York University, and Columbia University. He currently teaches at Harvard University, Harvard's Extension School, and A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training.

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Sound design by

Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has composed music and designed sound for We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, Phaedra, Beckett Trio: Eh Joe, Ghost Trio, and Nacht und Traüme, and An Evening of Beckett, and designed sound for The King Stag, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, Ivanov, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Charlie in the House of Rue, The Merchant of Venice, Valparaiso, The Taming of the Shrew, The Bacchae, The Wild Duck, Woyzeck, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Wild Duck, Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, Buried Child, Ubu Rock, The Threepenny Opera, The Accident, Demons, Waiting for Godot, The Oresteia, Hot 'n' Throbbing, The America Play, A Touch of the Poet, The Cherry Orchard, What the Butler Saw, and Those the River Keeps at the A.R.T. Previously he composed music and designed sound for productions at the Intiman Theatre, the Bathhouse Theatre, and the Alice B. Theatre. He also scores for dance and has composed for the Allegro Dance Festival, the Bumbershoot Festival, and On The Boards.

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The Captain Charles Levin
Woyzeck Thomas Derrah
Andres Scott Ripley
Marie Sharon Scruggs
Margaret/The Monkey Emma Roberts
The Drum Major Jack Willis
The Child Nicole Pasquale
The Barker Dmetrius Conley-Williams
The Idiot/The Horse Jason Weinberg
The Doctor Will LeBow