Kafka’s Disgusting Tale of Transformation, A Buffoon’s Metamorphosis

Sincere kudos to the performers, who fully commit. Unfortunately, the problem is that they’re committing to something that’s simply unbearable to sit through.

I think that the success of this kind of clowning hinges on giving the performers something to play against — in plays like 3 Sticks’ “Borderlines,” they were set loose in the world of politics. In the “Bouffon Glass Menajoree,” they gleefully tore apart Tennessee Williams’ text. I suspect that the intention was to do something similar with Kafka, but too little of his work remains. He hasn’t been comically distorted; he’s simply unrecognizable, leaving the rest of the play to descend into seemingly random chaos.

The other element they’re holding up — and this is interesting — the protagonist’s transformation is into an actual thinking, feeling human being, who’s incapable of functioning in a world inhabited by monsters. This is a cool idea — except that his transformation is rather into a trite, self-absorbed individual, spouting the power of positive thinking, bereft of any genuine insight. Maybe that’s inevitable, in the world of this play — that he’s incapable of transforming into anything else — but it still feels like a missed opportunity.

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