Sadari Movement Laboratory, Woyzeck

Review in Issue 19-4 | Winter 2007

A large ensemble of performers – and chairs! – bring us an exciting physical interpretation of Georg Büchner’s famously unfinished 19th century tragedy, Woyzeck. It’s all here: the madness, the murder, the seductions, the medical humiliations, the eating of peas… all set to the tango music of Astor Piazzolla.

There is wonderful ensemble work, with precise choreography that is strongly rooted in European mime and movement theatre tradition (although the company is Korean): sometimes, in its use of repeated gesture and tongue-in-cheek humour, reminiscent of Pina Bausch, and at other times, in its acrobatic encounters with the chairs and the use of them as frames for the human body, reminiscent of Josef Nadj (who also created a physical theatre interpretation of Woyzeck a decade or so ago – it is a popular choice). The engagement with the physical space and wonderful lighting design are what we would expect of a director who has trained in Lecoq’s renowned scenographic method at the Laboratoire d’Etude du Movement (LEM). But mostly it is its own good self. The piece could possibly be subtitled ‘1,001 things to do with a chair’ – if you think that you’ve seen everything in physical theatre that involves a combination of human body and chair, think again… in Woyzeck, the chairs are worked relentlessly: they divide the space, become buildings or cages or beds, or percussion instruments, or dance partners – particularly lovely is a military cha cha. The only quibble is with the use of surtitled quotes from the play, which seem unnecessary – the minimal amount of spoken text (in Korean and English) seems enough without the added reinforcement of these scene-setters.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-4
p. 28