Post on the first visit can be viewed here:
This is my second visit of The Drowned Man. Having read Woyzeck’s text, armed with information on storyline, location and possibilities of One on One encounters and character descriptions, on top of the knowledge of the layout of the set, this is meant to be a more illuminated visit and so it proved to be. It also helped that the show has been tweaked since my last visit during preview and now has a helpful explanation of the story handed out while you queue and a brief character description and their photo posted in the area as you go in, As abstract as the show can be, this makes a big difference to help clarify the setting in the minds of the audience. The second biggest tweak is the finale. It was a big song and dance number previously and now is a proper conclusion to the Woyzeck story which also explain the existence of two pools in the set. This is a proper dramatic ending a large show such as this deserve and Punchdrunk has pulled it off beautifully.
Smaller points to note is the story outside the gate seems to be easier to follow although maybe because this is where I spent most of the night. Some of the bigger dancing set pieces at the car and at the gate is quite spectacular. I do have to moan about some audience behaviour such as hands holding, talking, not giving enough space for the performers and for the finale, simply fail to observe instruction to sit down so people behind them can see. I also witnessed an awful but mildly amusing incident. The Doctor left his consulting room door opened and a couple went into the room and locked it. The doctor was left outside trying to find his key thinking that he might have left it in there. The couple eventually came out with the doctor standing outside waiting for them.
These minor quibble aside, this is a spectacular show and the scale and depth of it can only be truly appreciated by repeated visits. I’m looking forward to my next visit already.
I loved that audience members stubbornly placing themselves in the way (sitting in chairs clearly needed by actors in a tiny set, for example) were bodily moved by the cast when they needed to be, or – even better – used as props. Jx
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