Even the boyish charm of Star Wars hero, John Boyega, was not enough to make Woyzeck a good watch. Why? Because writing – whether for drama or for business – has to be authentic if you want to draw in your audience and make an impact. My podcast:
In the Old Vic bar during the interval of Woyzeck I admitted to my host that the play was leaving me cold. The action was all happening over there. There was no invitation, or moment in proceedings, when you could connect with the characters. While it wasn’t a problem for fans of the lead, Star Wars hero John Boyega, I was struggling. And when my host ordered a second glass of sauvignon blanc, I knew she was too//
Woyzeck is unusual. Based on a real life murder trial dramatised by the German playwright, Büchner, its scenes can be run in any order. This is partly because Büchner had not finished writing Woyzeck when he died, so his exact intentions are unknown. Magically, for modern translators and abridgers it means they can play with the content and highlight different aspects of Woyzeck’s story.
Given licence to do whatever you wish with someone else’s information, you’d think a writer would polish it until it was bigger and brighter and bolder. And yet one often sees productions that don’t work because the writer has either failed to get inside the head of the characterss OR they’ve decided to put their own spin on it and the result is a cross-cultural mishmash.
The same is true when you’re putting together presentations and speeches for other people. If you can’t get inside their heads, if you don’t understand what they do, it’s very hard to produce something authentic. Similarly, if you decide your client hasn’t a clue about presentations and write it in your own voice and vocabulary, they’ll come a cropper. Many of us remember poor Sam Fox struggling with her script at~ The Brits and indeed, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway tripping over the Winner of the Best Film category at the 2017 Oscars. It’s possible to cock up with just one badly, or wrongly, placed sentence.
Our response to Woyzeck was to stay in the bar for the second act. we’d already switched off. whether or not it got better made no difference to us. Not all audiences have the gift of an interval to escape a bad presentation or speech, but they will switch off, and later they will complain, if your content does not look or sound authentic.