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Review of Persona/Woyzeck double bill

Camden New Journal : July 2007

ACT Provocateur’s double bill shines a light on different kinds of mental deterioration in Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck and a stage adaption of Persona, Ingmar Bergman’s intriguing 1966 film. Buchner based Woyzeck on a real story of a soldier who ends up murdering is common-law wife, Marie.The reason for his actions remain unclear in this production.

Is he being driven mad by jealousy or is it an overwhelming feeling that being poor means he is powerless against the drumbeat of the upper classes?

The adaptation of Persona is far more enjoyable.

Powerfully acted with scant props and a neutral stage design, the piece is driven entirely by Lucinda Forth’s strong performance.

She is Nurse Alma, employed to look after Elizabeth Vogler, an actress who suffers a mental breakdown and refuses to talk. So Alma talks and begins to take on the role of the patient as Vogler’s silence forces her to reveal more and more about herself.Much as in the film, the personalities of the nurse and the patient begin to merge.

Are they the same person, trying to decide which persona to take on, or is thes a study of female relationships and love?

Bergman’s film translates surprisingly well onto the stage and this raw and gripping portrayal of the psyche is treated with imagination by resident director Dumle Kogbara.

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