Handspring Puppet Company: Woyzeck on the Highveld

For this collaboration between South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company and renowned artist William Kentridge, animated film, live performances, South African-inspired music, and wood puppets are used to present an adaptation of German writer Georg Buchner’s famous, unfinished play of jealousy, murder, and the struggle of an individual against an uncaring society which eventually destroys him. In this version, directed by Kentridge, Woyzeck is a migrant worker in 1956 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The performance is presented in conjunction with the MCA DNA: William Kentridge exhibition.

Narrator: The presentation will begin. The commencement of the beginning is about to start.

Woyzeck: Andries! That streak across the grass, that’s where dead bodies are found.

Once somebody tripped over one. Thought it was a log.

  • Three days and three nights and he was in his wooden coffin.
  • Shhh.

    Maria: Honey, is that you? Food is ready.

    Woyzeck: I can’t stay. Have to go to the captain.

    Maria: What is the matter with you, Harry?

    Woyzeck: Maria, there was something out there again. Isn’t it written: "and behold, the smoke of the land rose to the heavens like the smoke of a furnace"?

    Maria: Harry.

    Woyzeck: It followed me ‘til I reached town! What’s going to happen?

    Maria: Harry?

    Woyzeck: I’ve got to go.