October 07, 2010
When they wake up in the morning, some people find they’ve been visited by the hair fairy, while others are clearly suffering from some early morning halitosis.
So spare a thought for travelling salesperson Gregor Samsa who wakes up as an insect.
Not only has she become a monster, but she is also treated as one by his family. Shut away in her room, fed rotten fruit and chased as if she were a fly, poor Gregor has suddenly got a raw deal.
This nightmare scenario is the latest challenge from The Progress Theatre.
Lauching on Monday, Metamorphosis is their take on the Franz Kafka novella first published in 1915.
The rarely performed play sees the actors use pronounced physical body movements and gestures to heighten the spoken word while getting the story across – it promises to be a real challenge for the company to pull off.
“The play has been updated from the 1900s to the modern day,” says Abigail Salter, marketing manager for the company.
“This meant a few minor changes to the text, for example switching letters for email. One of the characters now plays the saxophone instead of the violin as the rehearsal schedule didn’t allow the actor time to learn a new instrument.”
When choosing a play to perform, amateur groups need to obtain a licence from the copyright holders, ensuring that they are happy with any changes you wish to make to the plot.
“Some licence holders also have strict rules about how the play is performed, the most common one being that none of the text should be changed,” explains Abigail.
“Director Joanna Rogowska cast the part of Gregor as a woman and her sister as a brother, changing the names slightly to reflect the gender change.
“She was however told that she couldn’t do that and the names had to remain as in the script.”
Joanna’s solution was to keep Gregor’s name, but still let the part be played by a woman.
“This fits in with what she sees as one of the main themes of the play, the difficulty of being yourself when all the pressures are to conform and do the sensible thing,” Abigail says.
The play, which blends the macabre with music and wry, dry humour, promises to be an interesting, contemporary story that could happen anywhere to anyone.
Metamorphosis is at Progress Theatre from October 11-16. Call 0118 960 6060 or visit www.progresstheatre.co.uk