Steven Berkoff’s seminal adaptation of Franz Kafka’s classic story has been newly directed by Ella Vale for Blackeyed Theatre who return to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre after their previous visits with productions of Alfie and Oh What a Lovely War.
Kafka’s nightmare vision, recreated by Berkoff is brought to the stage through the trademark physical ensemble-style acting of Blackeyed Theatre and tells of Joseph K, an estranged and rootless citizen, who becomes the victim of anonymous governing forces beyond his control. Deceived by authoritarian power, he is relentlessly hunted for a nameless crime. While he awaits trial, K sinks deeper into darkness as he tries to escape through a series of shocking and funny twists and turns.
More than forty years after its first performance, Steven Berkoff’s adaptation has become a classic work of twentieth century theatre and a widely studied syllabus piece. Kafka’s universal parable about the human condition is retold in Berkoff’s startlingly original, fresh and endlessly surprising play.
Berkoff was asked to put on an experimental production with his students while he was teaching at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He read out the first line and encouraged the students to act it out and subsequently wrote a form of play using an ensemble. At the point in his career when he wrote The Trial, Berkoff was fascinated with the work of American choreographer Alwin Nikolais who had used coloured screens to create different scenes. Hoping to use this method in the play, he constructed screens to reveal and close the scenes but when the screens were simple frames, Berkoff realised they created opportunities for making corridors and forming another dimension to the stage, giving a new edge to the story.
Simon Wegrzyn who plays Joseph K says: “We’re creating a world, one that’s terrifying and overshadowed by a feeling of nameless guilt. We’ve got a 1950s Cold War setting, which adds to this element of a higher threat.”
Director Ella Vale adds: “I want to bring my audience close to Joseph K and the world he inhabits, I want them to go on the journey with him and feel that they too could have been Joseph K, could have acted in the same way and could have felt both innocent and guilty of a crime which is never named.”
Connaught Theatre, Union Place, Worthing. BN11 1LG
Friday March 23 - Saturday March 24
Tickets: £15, concessions £1 off, school/youth groups 10+ £9 per ticket.
Suitable for age 14+
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