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Civil War setting adds unique twist to 'Wozeck' production


   

Neil Labute Director, playwright, and screenwriter Neil Labute

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 17, 2012 – The American Civil War is the setting for Georg Buchner's classic work "Woyzeck," presented by the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts and Cinema. 

The production runs in Squires Studio Theatre Nov. 1-4, 6-7, and 9-11 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 4,10, and 11 at 2 p.m.

"Woyzeck" is the tale of a poor soldier who is subjected to humiliation and exploitation in the hands of society. Jealousy and mental fatigue cause Woyzeck to murder his common-law wife in a tragic ending to this tale that explores poverty, desire, and morality. 

The Virginia Tech production of  "Woyzeck" is set in an operating theatre, during the American Civil War, a point of differentiation from other productions. Another unique element stems from the fact that the production is based on a free adaptation by director, screenwriter, and playwright Neil Labute.

Georg Buchner (1813-1837), a German writer of poetry, prose and plays, came from a family of doctors, and he also studied medicine in Strasbourg. His interest in literature, philosophy, and politics influenced his writings, which later became an influence in the Naturalism movement in theatre.

Department of Theatre and Cinema visiting faculty member Joan Grossman, a filmmaker and video artist, has worked on the projection design, which adds a cinematic element to the show. She describes "Woyzeck" as, "Madness and the borders between nature, violence and humanity. It's a cruel and painful story of humiliation and revenge in the shadow of war and upheaval."

Director and faculty member Bob McGrath is also the co-founder and artistic director of Ridge Theatre in New York City. He has directed theatre and opera at venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, The American Repertory Theatre, Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, and more. He is the recipient of three OBIE awards. 

Select performances will be followed by a faculty-led talk back, offering a context for understanding the show's essential, if troubling, violence. Disturbing in its explicit racialized and sexualized violence, the production investigates the social conditions that tragically limit the characters’ ability to exercise agency in their lives. 

Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 students/seniors, and are available at the Student Centers and Activities Ticket Office in the Squires Student Center. For tickets, call 540-231-5615, order online, or purchase at the ticket office. Tickets will also be sold at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance.

Free parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Square parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional Downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.

Virginia Tech's School of Performing Arts, a unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is comprised of the Department of Music, the Department of Theatre and Cinema, and programs and classes in dance. The school is committed to education, training, and experience in the transformative power of the performing arts. In addition to producing more than 400 student, faculty, and guest-artist events each year, the school presents the annual Summer Arts Festival and maintains the university's artist registry.