The Sun Shining On Her Hands: A timely feminist reinterpretation of Woyzeck’s Marie

trip-the-lightIn Georg Büchner’s fragmentary, expressionistic play Woyzeck, attention is traditionally focused on the eponymous protagonist.

However, The Sun Shining On Her Hands is a creative reimagining by Trip the Light Theatre, an exciting company influenced by physical theatre.

Crucially, they give the spotlight to the much more sidelined character of Marie, who has a child with Woyzeck but is nonetheless free-spirited, passionate and promiscuous. Marie is someone who pays the ultimate price for transgressing the boundaries of what society considers “decent”.

As such, The Sun Shining On Her Hands offers a very timely feminist interpretation of the character of Marie, while also being an experimental and engaging production in its own right. The combination of fragmentary songs and words – as well as forceful but sometimes gentle, flowing movements – contributes to the intentionally disorientating experience of watching the production.

This is no bad thing; in fact, the swirling confusion and lack of traditional, linear narrative positively recalls the work of Beckett. As the critic John Fuegi so eloquently put it:

The world Büchner depicts…in Woyzeck… is one stripped completely bare of traditional notions of heroism, morality, propriety and decorum.

Ultimately, the bleakness of both Woyzeck and The Sun Shining On Her Hands is most powerfully summarised in a line of Marie’s: “Everything goes to hell anyhow, man and woman alike.”

Read my full review on Litro

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