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Woyzeck, By Georg Buchner Essay

1680 words - 7 pages

The lights dim, as you cross your legs with anticipation of the show. You've had this ticket pre-ordered for two months! As the actors troop onstage to deliver the famed prologue to Henry V each passes your seat and you can see each miniscule detail. You notice the ruffle of cuff on the prince of France, you inhale the soft fragrance of the princess, you notice the gentle glint of reflected light bouncing of the false jewel embedded on Henry's crown. And when they stop in a loose semicircle, if you hadn't been taught better, you could have reached out and touched the hem of the actors cloak standing not four feet in front of you. As the show progresses the physical intimacy of the actors drags you deeper into the world of the play, so much so that when the curtain falls, you honestly feel that you were an integral piece of that world. What is so amazing is that almost anyone you meet can describe a moment like this. Whether it be a concert where they high fived the band member while being jostled by a hundred other crazy fans, or sitting in a dark, silent, planetarium and questioning your existence as virtual stars fly by at close proximity with amazing detail. When it comes to any performance, but even more specifically to Woyzeck by Georg Büchner, the power of proximity between audience and cast or set has a direct correlation on how audience members perceive and sympathize with a play.
When Reading Richard Schechner's “Notes Towards an Imaginary Production” for inspiration on how to approach my own version of Woyzeck I came across one of his more visceral adaptations on how Woyzeck needs to be close to the audience. Schechner claims that “If Woyzeck is done in a theater it is important that Woyzeck gets very close to the audience. Close enough so that the audience can smell his sweat. His fear.” (Schechner 15) I tend to agree, that if the audience can get closer to the action, the more involved they will feel. There are dozens of examples of how theater has tried to interact with the audience in a more interactive way, from vaudeville bringing audience members up on stage to sing and dance or have practical jokes played on them. All the way through theater in the modern era which would actively try to make the audience feel unpleasant in both physical and sensory methods such as screaming in your face, using hand held instruments obnoxiously, or wafting disgusting or alluring smells like baked bread or garbage during the show. Another way that audiences have been brought closer to the action is to remove them from the standard proscenium theater and put them within the environment through site specific theater.
Site specific theater is a relatively new movement that believes in the sense of moving outside of the theater. Theater troupes the develop site specific theater believe that location and physical aesthetic is one of the most important ways to present ideas to an audience. Two incredible examples of site specific theater are...

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