When: Fri., April 1, 8 p.m. and Sat., April 2, 8 p.m. 2011
The world knows Johan Woyzeck as the poor, hapless soldier antihero of George Buchner's scathing 19th-century play, as well as Werner Herzog's 1979 film, featuring a supremely uncomfortable-looking Klaus Kinski in the lead. But in 1992, visual artist William Kentridge considered the character as a black man in mid-20th-century South Africa. How would that change the story?
InWoyzeck on the Highveld, nearly life-size puppets and full-screen animation unfold the story of a poor migrant worker's long fall through apartheid in the 1950s. If the name of the Johannesburg-based Handspring Puppet Company rings a bell, perhaps it's because they contributed the fantastic, full-size equine puppets forLondon's National Theatre production ofWar Horse, currently on Broadway. In Kentridge's Woyzeck, the pensive central character is referred to as "emoting" and "thinking" during the performance and is in the hands of master puppeteers, according to critics who've seen this production on the road. Very high praise for a clump of papier-mâché, wire and sticks—and for the artists who have somehow given him life. —Byron Woods