The College of the Canyons Theatre Department’s recorded production of “Woyzeck” will be available to stream online for free until Saturday, Dec. 12.
Directed and produced by David Stears, “Woyzeck” is a working-class tragedy of the dehumanizing effects of doctors and the military on a young man’s life. Left unfinished at Georg Büchner’s death, the play had an enormous impact on realism, naturalism and expressionist movements in theater and literature.
“With themes of isolation, mental health, and the search for deeper meaning in the world, ‘Woyzeck’ still resonates today and is quite timely given the evolving impacts of COVID-19 on our society,” said David Stears, who is also a theater instructor at the college.
The play’s “choose your own adventure” format will allow audience members to choose their own path as they journey through the story.
“It is much like a modern video game where the player chooses the action of the game,” added Stears. “Many artists are incorporating audiences into the dramatic narrative with immersive theater. Even television shows like ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ on Netflix are inviting the audience to directly participate in crafting the story.”
As Büchner did not indicate a specific order for the scenes, COC’s production invites the viewer to either construct their own path through scenes or choose one of two versions in which the scenes are linked together and easily navigated.
The production relied on Büchner’s original text as a foundation and added poems, songs from the era, and “echos” from within the script, which reflect lines that reverberate in the mind of Woyzeck.
Stylistically, the piece also incorporates many of the elements of German expressionism, appearing in black and white with high-contrast shadows and acute camera angles.
The entire production was rehearsed and filmed through video conferencing, with individual performances recorded in students’ homes using their own devices. All the content was downloaded and assembled by a small team of cast members for online viewing.
To watch “Woyzeck,” click here.
For more information about the COC Theatre Department and for updates, follow the department’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.