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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 7, 2008 @ 11:42 am

    Metamorphosis

    Fiona McCann

    “Being as good as Kafka is hard, and Farr and Gardarsson are certainly not up to it,” said Fintan O’Toole on Saturday of the Gísli Örn Gardarsson/David Farr production of Metamorphosis. “The performance may defy gravity, but it falls down when trying to attach Kafka’s allegory to something meaningful,” said Peter Crawley. Can the original work by Kafka on which the play is based ever be set aside in our cultural consciousness long enough to allow for this play to be judged on its own merits? Should it be?

    There is always a danger approaching a work that has been ‘adapted’ to a new form. When a beloved book gets the big screen treatment, readers are rarely enamoured of the results, while those who come to it without the literary precursor in mind are often much more forgiving.

    So what happened in the case of Metamorphosis? Much has been altered, as O’Toole pointed out, but isn’t it strangely fitting for a work with such a title? Or was the metamorphosis too much?  

    • Gearóid Ó Cúin says:

      The metamorphosis was wonderful, the characterisation of Gregor’s parents was the problem for me. Hammed up and played for laughs they were a real pain to watch. But the audience seemed to be enjoying them and many of them were rolling in the aisles, laughing at every second line. What was I not getting? I clearly don’t have the right sense of humour for Kafka.

    • Adieec says:

      I saw this play in it’s original run in 2006 at Hammersmith and thought it was excellent. So much so that I returned in 2008 at the same venue. I was disappointed to see that the actors were playing to the audience a lot more and people were laughing at a play that had originally moved people to tears. It seemed to have lost something but I think that all live performance is at the mercy of the audience and if people start to laugh then the actors will play to that. Gearoid, were the actors destroying a poignant piece or were the audience immature in their understanding of the play? I certainly prefered it to the Berkoff version.


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