"Woyzeck," student production by University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, opens Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays, through March 16, Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, UCCS, 3955 Regent Circle, $15, free UCCS students, not recommended for ages 15 and younger; 255-3232, theatreworkscs.org.

Something else:First Friday Talkback with actors and director, after the March 7 show; First Saturday Gala, drinks and snacks, free, March 8; Prologue Lecture with film professor Robert von Dassanowsky and series founder Kevin Landis, 2:30 p.m. March 9, free.

More than one theater scholar has called Georg Buchner's 1837 play "Woyzeck" one of the best pieces of drama ever written.

It's definitely on Kevin Landis' list. The theater professor at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will direct his students in a production of the classic show. It opens Thursday.

"I selected a show that is a work of art," Landis says. "Of course, that's in the eye of the beholder, but any teacher or scholar to name the 10 best plays, outside of Shakespeare, I imagine this would be on many lists."

Woyzeck is a poor, young soldier living with his mistress and their child. To support them, he agrees to endure medical experiments that accelerate his downward spiral into mental illness. Buchner allegedly based the play on the true story of a soldier who murdered the woman he lived with in 1821.

The playwright died from typhus at the age of 23 in 1837, while finishing the script. He left behind 29 scenes and four drafts, Landis says. Nobody is certain if the play was actually finished.

"They (the scenes) weren't numbered, and we don't know exactly how they were meant to go," Landis says. "There's always room for mixing things up. I was changing the order of scenes last night. It's a lot of fun. A lot of directors love this: They can figure out their own ending. And audiences can, too."

Landis admits the work is no frothy, lighthearted "Guys and Dolls," but urges people to not be scared of darkness and tragedy.

"It can speak to a wide swath of the population and speak to political situations in various countries and times in history. A simple soldier with developmental disabilities is odd for the 1800s, but he represents an Everyman. The people around him are oppressing him, and they themselves are oppressed. It speaks to humanity's desire to break free of the cycle of oppression."

Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette, 636-0270, jen.mulson@gazette.com


Winter Jazz Recital - By the New Horizons Band of Colorado Springs, 7:30-9 p.m. Friday, First Evangelical Free Church, 820 N. 30th St., free; 634-2463, nhbcosmusic.com.