When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. Which Le Moyne theater director Matt Chiorini saw as the perfect opportunity for some song and dance!
“It was a straight line from Oklahoma to The Metamorphosis,” jokes Chiorini, having grown up appreciative of the razzle-dazzle of Broadway musicals while also being more than aware of the doom and gloom that comes with the work of Franz Kafka. But as opposed to traditional Broadway, Chiorini notes that the past decade has seen musicals being stripped down of their flair, becoming a lot more personal and story-driven. He saw that there is now definitely more “room for something a little different, a little more intimate” and that The Metamorphosis is a great story to make this exact sort of different and intimate play out of.
The Metamorphosis is about a salesman who’s turned into an enormous insect overnight. Instead of freaking out, he worries himself about the pitfalls of being a salesman and generally just having the life he has had—in short, he was always kind of treated like the big bug he only looks like now. Kafkaesque is the adjective used to describe this feeling of having so little power to change one’s own condition, and this story certainly helped this word reach common usage.
And Kafkaesque is certainly the adjective used to describe this musical rendition of The Metamorphosis. “We also weave between the letter that Kafka wrote his father,” says cast member Meghan Lees, “so that it’s narrated, almost, by Franz Kafka.” It goes to show that Kafka put so much of himself into his fictions, especially this one, that a personal letter to his own father relates enough to serve as narration. His father was a notorious emotional abuser, treating his meek son like a squashed bug on his own oppressive heel—the similarities are nothing short of mind-numbing.
The Metamorphosis and the Kafkaesque are definitely things that might seem out of the ordinary when merely described, but everyone is sure to share in that dread one feels when they just cannot get their ducks in order no matter how hard they try. So this is certainly a musical you’d want to see to believe.
Be sure to buy your tickets and find out more at KafkaMusical.com. Showtimes are: July 6, 7:30, at Wunderbar at 201 South West St. in Syracuse; July 26 & 27, 8:00pm, and August 1 & 2, 2:00pm & 8:00pm, at Auburn Public Theater at 8 Exchange St. in Auburn.