Woyzeck @ Choicirciati Cultural Center through November 12th

Director Jonathan Barsness has adapted Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck for the Toy Box Theatre’s modern production, and the present-day setting hits a sympathetic note with its audience. The bleak mood of the play is reinforced by a barren set, and the scarves and winter hats in the characters’ costumes suggest frigid weather that perfectly complements the play’s icy undertones.

The story centers on the struggles of a young man, Woyzeck, who has lost his job in the recession, and being desperate, submits to a town doctor’s medical experiments in order to earn the cash to make ends meet, or rather to provide some monetary support to the mother of his baby, who Woyzeck isn’t sure he deserves to marry unless things pick up for him. The pressure, both economic and religious, builds on Woyzeck, and the audience is faced with the uncertainty of whether he will be able to hold it together or if he’ll somehow succumb to the pressure. David Michael Holmes truly pours himself into the role of Woyzeck. From one sweaty, crazed scene to the next, Holmes’ performance is enthralling throughout.

The original, live acoustic music performed throughout the play by the trio Colonna Sonora gives the performance a deeper layer. The sad violin and crying harmonica pulls the audience into the scenes, and Woyzeck’s desolation resonates with each gloomy guitar chord.

Through a well-written script and quality acting, the play delivers an authentic look at life in a small town through the eyes of a recession victim. When his child is sweating, Woyzeck tells him he should get used to it because he’s, “going to be sweating his whole life.” It’s a heartbreaking moment in the play, not only for the characters on stage, but for anyone watching who might be wondering what the lasting effects of the recession might be for generations to come.

Woyzeck runs through November 12th at the Choicirciati Cultural Center (64 E. 4th St.). For more info, please visit http://www.toyboxtheatre.org/home.php

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