Franz Woyzeck is a hapless, hopeless soldier in 19th century Germany who finds himself alone and powerless in society — assaulted from all sides by forces he cannot control. This expressionistically-styled 19th century classic of world literature is considered the first “modern” play and is the basis for the opera and ballet of the same name.
Woyzeck is stationed in a provincial German town who supports his child by taking part in medical experiments which require he eat nothing but peas. Woyzeck's mental health deteriorates, and he experiences a series of apocalyptic visions. Meanwhile, Marie, his mistress and mother of his child, grows tired of Woyzeck and turns her attentions to a handsome drum major. With his jealous suspicions growing, Woyzeck confronts the drum major, who beats him up and humiliates him. In a fit of delirium, Woyzeck commits a heinous act. All at once absurd, poetic, tragic and comedic, the play highlights the pressures and anxieties of the modern world and its adverse effect on the human psyche and society.