First published in 1915, Franz Kafka’s novella, The Metamorphosis, has proved to be a widely influential piece of literature that has been referenced, adapted and dissected by countless readers for nearly one hundred years. Now, in collaboration with Theatre Calgary, The Lyric Hammersmith and Icelandic company Vesturport are bringing fans of Kafka’s unsettling tale a stage adaptation that will impress.
Transforming the story of one Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman who finds himself suddenly trapped in the form of a monstrous vermin, into an acrobatic, highly physical and visually arresting experience. Interpreting Metamorphosis as a metaphor for the marginalization and dehumanization of people in the face of of strife, co-adapters Gísli Örn Garðarsson and David Farr create a vivid and horrifying image of a family losing their humanity when their son and brother is no longer physically human. Sister Grete begins the story as a loving caretaker but quickly grows irritated and finds her brother to be a tremendous burden, while Gregor’s mother finds herself torn between maternal instinct and horrified disgust and his father responds to the transformation with harsh cruelty. After some time has passed, the Samsas fortunes have continued to fall, and thinking Gregor unable to understand them, they express their desire for him to leave. As a result, Gregor returns to his bedroom and proceeds to die of sorrow and determination to free his family from the bonds of obligation that his care has proved to be.
The disintegration of the members of the Samsa family as they struggle to cope with Gregor’s new form is complemented by a beautiful and evocative original score composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Now having been performed to rave reviews all over the world, The Lyric Hammersmith and Vesturport’s Metamorphosis is guaranteed to impress Calgary’s High Performance Rodeo attendees.
Metamorphosis runs from January 9 to 13 at the Max Bell Theatre.
By Brianna Turner