Monday, December 5, 2011

Jesus Quintero Performing Arts Theatre: Woyzeck (reviews)

Jesus Quintero Performing Arts Theatre opened its production of Woyzeck on November 26, 2011.
Jesús Quintero, artistic director and actor, will bring his original adaptation of Büchner’s Woyzeck to the stage. In Quintero’s vision, Woyzeck is a soldier living in the modern day and has arrived home from serving in Iraq. Suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Woyzeck hears the voices of a degrading military Captain and a Doctor, voiced by Roger Martin, who psychologically abuses him and plays on his jealousy over his girlfriend’s infidelity.
Jesus Quintero directed a cast that included himself, Francesca Toledo, Randy Garcia, and Matthew Garcia.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Go see the Jesús Quintero Performing Arts Theatre’s production of Georg Brüchner’s Woyzeck, and you’ll have the sort of alternative theater experience that doesn’t happen often in South Florida. Tragic, intriguing, odd, confusing, provocative: All of those descriptions apply to Quintero’s Woyzeck.
Utilizing a haunting collection of Tom Waits songs from a 2000 Robert Wilson-staged production of Woyzeck, Quintero turns the play into a study of an Iraq War veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This Woyzeck (Quintero) has come home psychologically ruined. His girlfriend Marie (Francesca Toledo), mother of their baby, looks pretty haunted herself as she tries to cope with her agitated, tormented man.
Both Garcias do double duty as the production’s musicians, playing and singing the Waits songs in a way that does the singer-songwriter justice, injecting the rock theater songs with a kind of Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill sensibility. Quintero and Toledo sing as well, he achingly in character, she sometimes off key.
The director’s adaptation of Woyzeck is minimalist when it comes to storytelling, so you’ll absorb much more from the production if you review Brüchner’s plot before you go. Nor does the jump from 19th century Germany to 21st century Miami always translate: Woyzeck’s illegitimate baby, a source of shame in the original, would be unremarkable today.

Quintero’s interpretation of the play, however, is all too relevant. As in Brüchner’s time, wars can keep claiming victims long after the battles are over.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami Artzine:
Jesús Quintero, who in recent years has given us The Hour of the Wolf and The Sorrows of Young Werther, gives us here his version of George Büchner's 1836 unfinished piece that finally received its premiere in 1913 in Munich.
...water is a large part of the evening; not only the rain but the water in the pool that serves pretty much as the entire stage.  Quintero and Toledo are soaking wet as often as not.  Wooden pallets, a raised armchair in which Maria plays an accordion, another armchair suspended on planks over the pool, a child's carousel playing Christmas carols in the background, a chandelier, a step ladder, a punching bag, barbells, and a picture with broken glass are a few of the furnishings under the partially covered pool and patio...
...there was also a bandstand on which Randy Garcia played drums and Matthew Garcia played guitar and synthesizer while they, and Quintero and Toledo, sang the songs of Tom Waits.  While none are Domingo, Sinatra or Fitzgerald, they imbued the music with such feeling that the pain of the confused, betrayed warrior overrode the entire sixty-five minute evening.  The four players were exactly right for this piece; as in the music, any flaws in performance simply lent truth to the story.
Woyzeck plays at the Jesus Quintero Performing Arts Theatre through December 18, 2011.

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