Woyzeck & The Tiger Lillies

Woyzeck & The Tiger Lillies is a new production of Georg Büchner‘s Woyzeck with music by The Tiger Lillies and Die Brassisten (an Austrian brass ensemble). It was directed by Stephanie Mohr and stars Raphael von Bargen, Ruth Brauer-Kvam, Xaver Hutter, Anne Weber, Johannes Huth, Manni Laudenbach, Joachim Bissmeier and Ben Becker.

Woyzeck (Raphael von Bargen) is a young soldier who has a child with Marie (Ruth Brauer-Kvam), despite not being married to her. Woyzeck does all he can to support Marie and their child: he does menial tasks for his Captain (Ben Becker) and participates in questionable experiments of the local doctor (Joachim Bissmeier), both for extra pay. But Woyzeck’s psyche is slowly fracturing and when Marie starts flirting with the handsome drum major (Xaver Hutter), it pushes him over the edge.

I loved pretty much everything about this production apart from their interpretation of the play. The stage design and the music was great, the actors were mostly good, but I just did not like the versions of Woyzeck and Marie we got to see.

We read the play in school and I quite liked it then. It is unfinished and the scenes are not numbered, so we don’t actually know in what order they go, which I think is an intriguing thing and just opens the whole play up to even wider interpretations. And it’s interesting to see how different sequencing can change the tone of the play. But since it’s that open, of course the possibility to interpret it in a way somebody wouldn’t like is pretty big.

In this case what came out was pretty much the most unsympathetic version of Marie and the whiniest version of Woyzeck imaginable. [Admittedly, it’s been ages that I read the play and it could have been just like that in the original, but somehow I doubt it.] Which is not to say that Raphael von Bargen wasn’t good, I just didn’t like the version. I can not say the same for Ruth Brauer-Kvam, though. I didn’t think her a particularly strong actress.

But the rest of the production makes up for that anyway. The stage design is wonderful and has this usual Tiger Lillies aesthetic to it. And the music is great. The Tiger Lillies songs basically personified Woyzeck’s psychosis and that works beautifully. It really is a great addition to the play.

But I also really enjoyed Die Brassisten who played the music that was planned in the play in the first place.

Put altogether I really did enjoy myself.

Summarising: Still a good evening of entertainment.

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