KAFKA V KAFKA
by Howard Colyer.
Jack Studio Theatre 410 Brockley Road SE4 2DH To 4 February 2012.
Tues-Sat 7.45pm Mat 4 Feb 4pm.
Runs 1hr 15min No Interval.
TICKETS:0844 847 2454
Review: William Russell 18 January
Inside the mind of a genius.
The tortured life of Franz Kafka provides the material for this fascinating play, based on a letter Kafka wrote to the father with whom he had an extremely difficult relationship; indeed this tortured, introverted man had difficult relationships with all his family. The letter was an attempt to explain to his father Hermann just why they did not get on and why he wanted to marry someone his father considered socially beneath the family. It was never sent.
Performed on a stunning, simple set by Moi Tran – a world straight out of the pictures of Rene Magritte in which dreams and reality and what you think and what you don’t know you are thinking come together beautifully – Colyer takes his audience into the mind of the writer as he frantically pens the letter, watched from the sidelines by the ominous figures of his mother and sister, Eumenides-like figures from Greek tragedy.
Kafka (Jack Wilkie delivering the long speeches he is given with noteworthy skill) is a scrawny, black-suited, tortured figure, scribbling frantically away at the letter which his statuesque mother Julie (Jean Apps) and sister Ottla (Ivy Corbin) eventually persuade him not to send to Hermann (Gareth Pilkington, sober suited and stuffy).
It is not the most dramatic of evenings in terms of action, but Colyer has managed to transform the source material into a real theatrical event and he is very well served by the entire cast and director Leigh Tredger. It ends chillingly as we learn what happened to Kafka’s family – their fate was to end up in the death camps. In a way this has nothing to do with the letter, and yet everything to do with the worlds Kafka created in his writings. The play is worth the trek to Brockley by any standards, and The Jack can be surprisingly easy to reach.
Franz: Jack Wilkie.
Hermann: Gareth Pilkington.
Julie: Jean Apps.
Ottla: Ivy Corbin.
Director: Leigh Tredger.
Designer/Costume: Moi Tran.
Sound/Associate director: Max Pappenheim.
Assistant director:Anna Nguyen.