University of Texas Austin - Cactus Yearbook (Austin, TX)

 - Class of 1984

Page 78 of 796

 

University of Texas Austin - Cactus Yearbook (Austin, TX) online yearbook collection, 1984 Edition, Page 78
Page 78



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UT Offers Classic Spring Drama When the UT Department of Drama decided to present a play with an unfinished script and only three weeks of rehearsal, nobody expected a great production. But when the unfinished script turned out to be the classic drama Woyzeck and the cast consisted of experienced junior and senior acting students, the result was one of the most compelling productions Austin had seen in a long time. " Woyzeck, " a psychological case- study of a man left mentally devastated by a cruel and ex- ploitative society, was the depart- ment ' s experimental bid for the season and played Jan. 20-Feb. 2 in the Theater Room. The story was based on the life of Johann Christian Woyzeck, a Ger- man soldier convicted of murdering his common-law wife, and later publicly executed in 1824. Playwright Georg Buchner began researching the case to bring Woyzeck ' s story to the stage. But Buchner died in 1837 before the play ' s completion, leaving behind a mass of unnumbered scenes. Each scene was short and self-contained. Like all of the previous directors of " Woyzeck, " UT director Lee Abra- ham was faced with the challenge of choosing which translation from Ger- man to use and how to place the 27 short scenes in cohesive order. The end result was a montage of scenes that effectively explored the workings of Woyzeck ' s mind. The intensification of his mental deterioration occurred when Woyzeck, played by Dink O ' Neal, discovered that his common-law wife, Marie, played by Christi Carafano, was cheating on him. Voices promp- ted Woyzeck to kill his sweetheart. In the depths of despair, Woyzeck gave in to the voices and, in a riveting climax, killed Marie. Abraham utilized the intimate sur- roundings of the Theater Room. To accommodate the play ' s quick suc- cession of scenes, the stage consisted of five bare platforms. This general acting area allowed the short scenes to unfold continuously without the interruption of set changes. The direction used modern ex- perimental theater techniques to il- lustrate the effect of abuse on Woyzeck. As Woyzeck gradually lost his sanity, the play made a transition from realistic to wildly expressionistic. Using experimental theater, the cast transported the audience to a lake, a carnival or tavern without the aid of props or scenery. To be expected from an unfinished play, the ending was abrupt and open-ended. But the play left memories of artful direction and superb performances. Dave Carlin Using experimental theater techniques, three actors in " Woyzeck " create a horse while the carnival barker (Kim Scott) looks on. j 70 --- Drama

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