The Worth Street Theater Company, which staged Jeff Cohen's Whoa- Jack! at the Tribeca Playhouse last January, will revive that racially- charged adaptation of Georg Buchner's Woyzeck at Harlem's Aaron Davis Hall, beginning previews Sept. 10 for a Sept. 12 opening. The production will feature new cast member David Greenspan in the role of the Mad Doctor. Greenspan recently appeared to acclaim in Worth Street's mounting of Tennessee Williams' Small Craft Warnings.
In Woyzeck, Buchner communicated the horror and hopelessness of the modern world through the title character, a hapless, miserable soldier, who -- abused by his militia Captain and cheated upon by his wife -- is finally driven to the meaningless murder of his spouse. The fragmentary, prescient work predated such dramatic movements as absurdism and such social phenomena as the rise of the working class and the trend toward random violence in society.
Alban Berg later turned Woyzeck into an opera. Buchner's other plays include Danton's Death. He died in 1837 at age 23.
Cohen -- who turned Orestes into Orestes: I Murdered my Mother and rendered The Seagull as The Seagull: The Hamptons: 1990's -- set Whoa-Jack! in the American Army during the civil rights movement. Woyzeck is Private Jackson, a soldier made the target of his Captain's racism, a set of Tuskeegee-like medical experiments and the sexual betrayal of a white major. Accompanying the story is a soundtrack of jazz standards, sung by Queen Esther.
Whoa-Jack! will kick off Aaron Davis Hall's 20th anniversary season. In other Worth Street news, the troupe's 1999-2000 season will begin with a revival of Wendy Wasserstein's Isn't It Romantic, previews from Oct. 21 for an Oct. 27 opening.
For information on Who-Jack!, call (212) 650-7148. For information on Romantic, call (212) 604-4195.
-- By Robert Simonson