The National Choreographic Centre of Orleans presented its play “Woyzeck, or a Hint of Vertigo” directed by famous director and choreographer Josef Nadj on the big stage of the Voronezh Drama Theatre yesterday, June 7. He performed the principle part in the play.
Josef Nadj told that he never stages original plays, and “Woyzeck” is the only performance in which he left the storyline and the characters of Buchner’s play. Other productions by Nadj are rather his dialogue with the authors of literary works.
He took the plot of Georg Buchner’s play about a soldier who killed his wife because of her infidelity, Nadj created a metaphorical play without words. Nadj turned the characters of the original play into dumb clay golems who ate soup of stones, took a shower of sand, cut pieces of meat off their bodies and took turns dancing with a dead woman.
According to Josef Nadj, play “Woyzeck” is about the folly of a man at war. Once this performance was shown in a psychiatric hospitalin in France, where, by the assurance of Nadj, it had a great success.
- After reading the Buchner’s play, I saw archetypes in its heroes - Nadj explained. - For example, Woyzeck himself is the archetype of the victims of war, a poor mad man. The same applies to the other characters - the doctor, the captain, Maria. So, I decided to bring these characters to their “primitive” state.
According to Josef Nadj, “Woyzeck” is close to the grotesque theater, it’s something in between the comedy dell’arte and the buffoonery. Only two of the seven actors, who worked on the production of “Woyzeck” 20 years ago, were replaced after all these years, the other five are the backbone, who have been playing “Woyzeck” from the very beginning. Josef Nadj noted that, despite the choreography component, “Woyzeck” is not a dance show. Although the National Choreographic Center of Orleans brought this performance both for theatrical, and dance festivals.
- Actors of "Woyzeck" shall not have any special skills, they are actors first of all - Josef Nadj said. - The main criteria for a good actor to me is a musical ear and plasticity.
The famous choreographer said that he does not use any modern means in his theater: the actors do everything with their hands. The preparation for “Woyzeck” takes several hours - the actors make clay slugs, cut up meat and collect other props for the play.
- “Woyzeck” will be 20 years in 2014. We staged it during the civil war in my native Yugoslavia, and my dream was to show it there. Unfortunately, we did not succeed - Joseph Nadj said. – It’s a mystery to us why the show is so popular. On the other hand, it is somewhat logical, because conflicts and wars never end in our world, so that the main theme of “Woyzeck” is always acute.
The director of the Platonov Festival Mikhail Bychkov called “Woyzeck” “absolutely unique performance for the Voronezh theater experience”.
- I can definitely say that people haven’t seen anything like this here – Bychkov noted.
The National Choreographic Centre of Orleans, where Josef Nadj is the artistic director, the chief choreographer, the director and an actor stages 5-7 plays simultaneously.
- Once we had ten performances in our repertoire, but we realized that this was the maximum for us – Nadj admitted. - It is very difficult to keep in mind all the roles and manage the theater.
Josef Nadj is fond of works by Buchner, Beckett, Kafka, and now the director is interested in poetry, notably, Russian.- After the Chekhov Festival, I began to study the works of Chekhov, and found there the echoes of Gulag theme – Naj said. – This theme of oppression, totalitarianism is very interesting to me. Having started to study this theme further, I came to Mandelstam’s poetry, and now I’m thinking of using it in my performance.