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The tragedy behind the hierarchy of life

By Maria Gregoriou

A tragic story will unfold at the Old Vinegar House for a number of performances starting on Wednesday. The story will be told by one actor and two musicians. The one-man tale is based on Woyzeck, the play by German dramatist and writer of poetry and prose, George Buchner.

Woyzeck is a fascinating work, but equally so is the fact that Buchner left it incomplete at his death and it was finished by a variety of authors, editors and translators.

The tragic tale is told by Franz Woyzeck, a poor soldier stationed in a regional German town. He lives with Marie, the mother of his child. Woyzeck earns extra money for his family by performing menial jobs for the captain and agreeing to take part in medical experiments conducted by the doctor.

At one of these experiments, the doctor tells the soldier that he must eat nothing but peas. It is obvious that Woyzeck’s mental health is breaking down due to these experiments and he begins to experience a series of apocalyptic visions.

Meanwhile, Marie grows tired of Woyzeck and finds a new interest in a handsome drum major. The two sleep together, and Woyzeck is soon suspicious.

With his jealously building up, he pays the drum major a visit when he is beaten up and humiliated.

The final blow to this soldier’s life comes when he stabs Marie to death. As the play was unfinished by Buchner there are several alternative endings, one of which is that Woyzeck disposes of the knife in the pond while trying to clean himself of the blood, and other that he drowns.

The performances that are set to begin on Wednesday are organised by artists from Cyprus and Greece in co-production with the Centre of Performing Arts MITOS.

In these performances the collective artists want to focus on Woyzeck not as an individual or case, but as a voice.

“We follow the exiled Woyzeck in his waste land and we offer him silence to speak, to be heard. We give him the chance to tell us his story, to find space among us and in this way to talk to us and talk for us, without prosecuting him. We give him space to speak, to move, to desire,” the artists involved in the play said.

The aim is that the solider offers the audience land in which various forces act together, the past is seen as something that is done with, it is now fact but also a memory which can be kept alive though narration. The relationship between actor and audience gives some kind of hope for the future, a future where we may learn to forgive and where we may all be equal.

The actor who will be taking on the role of Woyzeck will be Yorgos Onisiforou.

The Story of Soldier Woyzeck and the musicians on stage will be Konstantinos Tsiolis and Anastasis Christou.

The Story of Soldier Woyzeck
Performance with one actor and two musicians based on George Bunchner’s play Woyzeck. January 13, 14, 16 and 17. The Old Vinegar House, 34 Genethliou Mitella street, Limassol. 8.30pm. €10. In Greek. Tel: 97-879793

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