Franz Kafka's Delightfully Grotesque Metamorphosis Makes its American Premiere
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The last date listed for Metamorphosis was Sunday July 24, 2011 / 2:00pm.
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In this modern masterwork -- critically praised as a unique mix of Oscar Wilde and Bertolt Brecht -- the great Irish writer George Bernard Shaw pits a military industrialist against his crusading daughter. She's a Salvation Army major; he's an arms manufacturer and whiskey distiller -- on certain issues, they could not disagree more. But when he begins donating money to her organization, matters come to a head as the characters grapple with questions of business, faith, family and philanthropy. After 16 years, A.C.T. brings Shaw back to the stage with this co-production with Theatre Calgary, one of A.C.T.'s favorite Canadian collaborators, featuring an international cast of Canadian and American actors. Learn More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Goldstar Member
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Once the decision was made to make an adaptation of an adaptation to place the story in 1950's America this production shouldn't have been doomed but in this case it was. The place and time chosen are muddled by anachronism in the dialogue and interactions.
The acting, which has been directed to be stilted and unnatural, doesn't provide the contrast with the "metamorphosis" that is required to make this a successful and revealing version of this Kafka story.
The portrayal of "Gregor" by Alexander Crowther is interesting but seems lost in the chaotic stage setting.
Patrick Jones as both "Stietl" and "Fischer" is a breath of fresh air and offers some great comic relief. The only problem is that his appearances only highlight the failings of the other portrayals.
Unfortunately, the evening seemed more like a student experimental play than a typical Aurora gem.
If you go try to get a seat in the middle section instead of one of the two side sections. This may mitigate the viewing problem caused by the set design.
Quotes & Highlights
- Check out a behind-the-scenes video at the Aurora website.
By Franz Kafka
Adapted by David Farr and Gísli Örn Gardarsson
Directed by Mark Jackson
Closing Aurora Theatre Company’s 19th season is the first professional American production of Metamorphosis. Award-winning Bay Area director, performer and playwright Mark Jackson returns to Aurora Theatre Company, where he helmed the company’s acclaimed productions of Salome and Miss Julie, to put his own unique spin on this landmark work of existential literature.
Embodying the isolation of Franz Kafka’s unsparing tale, Metamorphosis is a masterful mix of horror and absurdity, telling the story of a traveling salesman’s bizarre transformation from man to man-sized insect. This powerful exploration of alienation, a terrifying — yet comic — adaptation of Kafka’s classic 1915 novella by British director David Farr and Icelandic actor-director Gísli Örn Gardarsson of Iceland’s Vesturport Theatre, was hailed as “a parable for our times” by The Daily Telegraph (UK). Performed in London’s West End, Dublin, Australia, and Hong Kong, “It’s the story of a very ordinary family where something awful happens,” Farr says. “But there is a lot of laughter in among the awfulness.”
About Franz Kafka
Despite his great impact on the literary world, Franz Kafka was a relatively unknown author during his lifetime. Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, the capital of Bohemia; he was the eldest of six children. His father was a self-made middle class merchant who began as a traveling salesman; he raised his children in the hopes of assimilating them into the mainstream society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Kafka learned German as his first language, but he became fluent in Czech and later acquired knowledge of French language and culture; one of his favorite authors was Flaubert. Admitted to the Charles University of Prague, Kafka first studied chemistry, but switched after two weeks to law. In 1917, he began to suffer from tuberculosis, which required frequent convalescence; during this time he was supported by his family, most notably his sister, Ottla. In 1923, he briefly moved to Berlin in the hope of distancing himself from his family’s influence to concentrate on his writing. It is thought that Kafka also suffered from clinical depression and social anxiety throughout his entire life; he also suffered from migraines, insomnia, constipation, boils, and other ailments brought on by excessive stress. Kafka’s tuberculosis worsened; he returned to Prague, then went to a sanatorium near Vienna for treatment, where he died on June 3, 1924. His body was returned to Prague, where he was interred on June 11, 1924, in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague-Zizkov.
Most of Kafka’s writing, much of it unfinished at the time of his death, was published posthumously. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories. He finished the novella The Metamorphosis, but never finished any of his full-length novels; his unfinished work was prepared for publication after his death by his friend and literary executor Max Brod. The novella The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) was published in 1915; full-length novels include The Trial (Der Prozeß, 1925), The Castle (Das Schloß, 1926), and Amerika (Amerika or Der Verschollene, 1927).