Monday, May 9, 2011

Woyzeck (The Hypocrites)

I don’t mean to sound dumb or anything, but what is going on with The Hypocrites’ Woyzeck? I mean, I get it and all but like, what’s up with it? These are questions that are asked with Sean Graney’s super quirky adaptation of Woyzeck, presented by The Hypocrites, now playing at the Chopin Theatre in Wicker Park.

Now, I’m a little biased because I did this show at B.U.—I played the second male lead, the Drum Major—and I like to think I know it pretty well. It is seriously one of the most important pieces of theatre that has ever been written. It’s about this soldier, Woyzeck, who—in our version, at least—is driven to murder his girlfriend, Marie, when she cheats on him with (you guessed it) the Drum Major. Of course, other things happen too, but that’s the main one.

Like I said, Sean’s show is super super quirky. And, the murder does happen in it, but it’s just different. It reminded me of Donnie Darko in some parts, Full Metal Jacket in others, and other times like those weirder movies that are out there sometimes. I don’t know. There are definitely certain things that characters do where you’re just like, what is going on here? But, they’re smart. I think it was really cool how they slapped the money when they got it. It shows you that the money is important, but also that it’s bad, too. Because, why would you hit something that you like? And Marie carries this rock around because she’s kind of crazy. She calls it her “baby” but I don’t think anyone was buying it. I know when we did this show at B.U. we had an actual fake baby that cried and that was really cool. (Actually, the money slapping thing was kind of offensive. We’re in a recession right now and I don’t think it’s right to show money—which some people don’t have—being treated like that. But that’s just me.)

Anyway, the set was really cool. And the costumes were really, really cool. But, I don’t know… I don’t want to come off as stupid or anything, but doesn’t Woyzeck take place in the 1800s? I mean, don’t get me wrong, the show is really cool, but like why was Woyzeck dressed in modern clothes? And, I’m sorry, the Drum Major didn’t even look like a drum major. Where was his hat? Where was his baton? I honestly didn’t even know he was the drum major until he was having sex with Marie (which only kind of happened). I mean, I get it, but I don’t know. And it sounded like they were using a different translation than we used when I did the show at B.U.

I liked Geoff Button a lot as Woyzeck, though. He reminded me of like, a really sad Ross from Friends. Especially, in that one episode where he gets in a fight with Rachel, and cheats on her but it’s not really cheating because they’re on a break. Lindsey Gavel is awesome as Marie, who isn’t really like Rachel all that much, actually. She’s kind of like, like Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up, but a little scarier. I mean, she’s really good. They’re both really good. In fact, everybody does great in this show:

Ryan Bollettino is so blonde and funny as the doctor. Erin Barlow is really funny as Marie’s friend and as the doctor’s girl. Ryan Bourque as Woyzeck’s friend, Andres, is really funny, too. Sean Patrick Fawcett is funny in a really great way as the Captain. Zeke Sulkes is not as funny as everyone else, but he doesn’t have to be because he’s supposed to be super scary, which he is! Walter Briggs definitely played the Drum Major differently than I did…but he was great and really funny.

I mean, I would definitely recommend being in a production of Woyzeck if you can, but this version was really cool and I would definitely go see it.

Woyzeck: A

-John Taflan

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