Woyzeck is an amoral creature due to his poverty — this is what Woyzeck's commanding officer, the Captain, tells the soldier while Woyzeck is shaving him. Morals are the province of the wealthy, and so the wealthy are morally superior to everyone else. True, Woyzeck has fathered an illegitimate child with Marie, his mistress, but he's also so committed to supporting his family that he's volunteered for the Doctor's medical experiments to earn much-needed extra money. But these experiments are taking a toll on Woyzeck, and his mental health is further battered by the realization that Marie sees greener pastures with another man. Humiliated, half-starved, debased at all turns, Woyzeck is driven to do something. But what? Playwright Georg Büchner didn't finish his play Woyzeck, and its very suggestive open ending has inspired dozens of adaptations and interpretations. Philip Boehm, artistic director of Upstream Theater, has produced a new translation of this haunting and compelling play, to be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (April 17 through May 3) at the Kranzberg Arts Center (510 North Grand Boulevard; 314-863-4999 or www.upstreamtheater.org). Upstream consistently creates singularly evocative shows, and with the fantastically human J. Samuel Davis starring as Woyzeck, expectations are very high indeed for Boehm's version. Tickets are $15 to $25.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: April 17. Continues through May 3, 2009