Woyzeck on the Highveld

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Woyzeck on the Highveld is a collaborative theatre production by William Kentridge (1955-) and the Handspring Puppet Company.

The original text

This is a major adaptation of Georg Büchner's unfinished play Woyzeck and was undertaken as the first collaborative theatre project by artist William Kentridge and the Handspring Puppet Company.

The play comments on South Africa at the start of the 1990s through a multi-layered structure taking place on three levels: the rear-projected animation of filmed charcoal drawings and ink-drawn shadow puppets, the roughly carved wooden rod puppets in front of the screen, each manipulated by four puppeteers, and a live actor. The distance between the inner world as projected on the screen and the action on stage forms the thin line between Woyzeck's twisted dream and reality.

After opening in 1992, the play went on to tour the world for years. After appearing in Israel in 1996, the puppets were sold to the Munich City Museum’s puppet collection. However they

The text published in

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1992: The play opened at the Grahamstown Festival, directed by William Kentridge with Adrian Kohler, Basil Jones, Louis Seboko, Busie Zokufa and Tale Motsepe as puppeteers.

1992: The production played at the Market Theatre Cast : Louis Seboko, Busi Zokufa, Tale Motsepe, Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler and at the Baxter Theatre.

1994: Performed at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago.

1996: The production was presented during the Israel Festival, Jerusalem at the Rebecca Crown Auditorium, May 31 - June 2. Later the puppets were sold to the Munich City Museum's puppet collection.

2008: The puppets were borrowed from Munich City Museum for a revival for the UNIMA Festival in Perth, Australia, with Mncedisi Shabangu taking Motsepe’s place. This also played in South Africa

2011: Performed at The Barbican, London[1]


The Handspring Puppet Company website[2]

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)



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