Written in the early 19th Century, Woyzeck is often considered the first modern play. The character takes it?s origin from a fallow child who was found in Germany and then used as the object of experiments by doctors. Woyzeck is the servant/slave of a German Captain who treats him as an amoral and stupid instrument for the Captain?s purposes, largely because Woyzeck is poor. The Doctor experiments on Woyzeck and he is starved and brainwashed by the soldier and doctor.
Soon, Woyzeck discovers that his girlfriend Marie, who is also the mother of his child, is having an affair with a drum major. He takes Marie to a lake and slits her throat, later he gets drunk and thinks other people are suspicious and goes back to the lake to, supposedly, drown himself.
Georg Buchner wrote Woyzeck between 1835-36 at a time of great social concern across Europe. Sadly, the young medical student died in Zurich of typhoid within a few months and left the play unfinished. Buchner never knew the impact his play would have on European theatre for more than a Century to come. Woyzeck was inspired by the true story of Johann Christian Woyzeck who was mentally ill but eventually executed for murering his girlfriend in Leipzig, a town not far from where Buchner grew up in his native Darmstadt. The early 19th Century was the beginning of much psychological research and Buchner, the young medical student, was shocked and appalled by the treatment of the obviously mentally imbalanced Woyzeck. He also was very interested in social problems of the time and the treatment of the working class across the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The play, unfinished, was Written by a young medical student and is in such a criptic, unnatural style that the scenes can be interchanged and much is left open for interpretation. A century later, after World War I avant-garde theatre artists such as Bertolt Brech and Kaiser would use Woyzeck as a prototype for much of their work, thinking it the original ?absurd? play.