I am playing the Drum Major. Favorite food is certainly Ale, alongside some Bratwurst and Sauerkraut. I see the Drum Major being the modern day equivalent of a guy who eats sub-par pub grub and drinks Budweiser.
Woyzeck is considered one of the greatest drama’s in German literature despite never being fully finished due to Georg Buchner’s untimely death at age 22 to Typhus. Why do you think this play is such an enduring classic?
For one, its unfinished aspect, along with different arrangements of the scenes that have been found in Bucnher’s journals imparting different leanings of its message, allows for additional creative freedom for those who work with it. Secondly, the overall message of the play’s social commentary about the different pressures society can place on an individual and the results of those forces continues to be relevant today.
So far, what is the scene you are most looking forward to playing or the line you are most looking forward to saying
I’ve rather been enjoying the moment of breaking Woyzeck, by physically beating him up. I feel it encapsulates the sadistic and base nature of the Drum Major character.
Themes in the play include suffering and poverty, along with strong elements of class structure. Those aspects are very relevant topics today, especially as our culture has become more self-centric and selfish. There’s a resurgence of a lack of empathy by those of higher status toward those less fortunate, with the privileged equating poverty to lack of effort, not taking into consideration the many forces that keep people under-privileged and in poverty. The character of Woyzeck is subjected to this throughout the play from many different sources in his life, and is treated as inferior, as less than human, as an object. The message of the play speaks to current problems in our world.
What has surprised you most about working on Woyzeck?
Finding new unknown hurdles for me to overcome as an actor. Playing a different type of character than I usually play has me exploring new avenues.
Mike Gilson is glad to be a part of this production and to be working with Seattle Theater Works for the first time. Mike has performed with various companies around town in the last couple years: Theatre Machine (The Lower Depths), Theater Schmeater (Twilight Zone: Live!), Ghost Light (Caucasian Chalk Circle), and his artistic home base, Annex Theatre (My Dear Miss Chancellor, Balconies), as well as in 14/48 this last winter. In addition to being the Bar Manager at Annex Theatre for over 6 years, Mike also plays the beleaguered “Manager Mike” in The Panel Jumper, a web series about Comic Book history and lore. Go watch it! (www.thepaneljumper.com)