The Nunney Players perform The Metamorphosis, based on a short story by Franz Kafka, on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 September in Nunney Church.
What do you do when you wake up one morning to find your brother has turned into some sort of giant cockroach AND he can’t go to work and provide for those long lazy breakfasts the family’s been enjoying?
Kafka’s short story, first published in 1915, has one of the best known openings in literature, as Gregor’s Samsa’s “troubling dreams” give way to an existence in which he is basically “locked in” – able to understand his family, but unable to express his own thoughts in human language.
Amid its pathos, Gregor’s situation is darkly funny. For a while he thinks that he simply has a mild cold, focuses on the weather and the missed train, but the situation is made into a debacle by the grim speed with which his employer checks on him at the family’s flat.
The family is ashamed of what has happened, but also worried since after the failure of the family business the Samsas have had to rely on benefits and on Gregor’s precarious wages as a travelling salesman.
His devotion to their welfare is selfless. He hands over all his money, gives up on a social life and dreams of paying his sister’s violin tuition at some prestigious music academy.
In doing so, however, he has relegated his father to a subsidiary role in the family, which is only overturned after the metamorphosis forces a shift in family dynamics.
While Gregor tries to adapt to his changing body and infantile status by crawling, climbing, and eating rotten food. Gregor’s sister, Grete, takes over as his carer – edging out his asthmatic but caring mother.
Gregor’s father engages again with the outside world, gets a job and decides to take in paying guests, but remains antagonistic to his only son.
Gregor is abandoned behind locked doors, leaving his room only three times, with comic and then tragic consequences. Each time he is driven violently back by his father.
Dosia Reichardt’s adapted and updated version of Metamorphosis is a black comedy of manners: it resonates strongly not only with an individual’s sense of being victimised by impersonal forces, but more pointedly with our inbuilt prejudice against those who seem less than human and in their animal- like beings cannot be included in everyday life.
Come and enjoy some thought-provoking, innovatively staged immersive theatre this September. The performance runs for an hour, with no interval and will raise funds for Nunney Church and the Nunney Players.
The Metamorphosis is performed on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 September 7.30pm in Nunney Church. Tickets cost £7 for adults, free for under 16s. Tickets can be bought at The George at Nunney, SPAR village shop and online at metamorphosisnunney.eventbrite.co.uk.