JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 11, 2004 – “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect…”
So begins Franz Kafka’s famous short story of how one man’s ‘metamorphosis’ changes not only his staid, boring life as a traveling salesman, but also the lives of his parents and sister.
David Malone, associate professor of English at Union, describes Kafka’s work as a “surreal narrative that can be interpreted many ways.” Written as a Freudian narrative and yet also a cultural critique, one interpretation is that it is a reflection of Kafka’s own self-hatred and the perception of his father and perhaps others of him as a “loathsome vermin.”
“It is a fascinating story really,” said Malone. “It takes a fantasy premise of a man turned insect and explores it in an absolutely realistic way.”
Steve Berkoff interpreted it as a play and the Union University Players will bring to life his stage adaptation of Metamorphosis at the W.D. Powell Theatre Oct. 14-19. They are also presenting the piece in competition as part of the Tennessee State Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival during the 2004 conference of the Tennessee Theatre Association Oct. 21-24 in Jackson, Tenn.
“I chose this play because I am really fascinated by the short story and have always been intrigued and excited by it,” said Darren Michael, assistant professor of theatre and director of the show. “I heard about this version and thought it would be an interesting challenge for the actors and for the audience, which I think you need sometimes. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done before.”
This will be Michael’s fifth show to direct at Union and was designed in concurrence with seniors Emily Brown, Nathan Ross, Jeremy Parker and Daniel Graham. The cast includes a mix of experienced actors and freshman to the theatre department. Leads are being played by Patrick Myers of Sissonville, W. Va., and Emily Brown of Cowan, Tenn., as Gregor’s parents; Jill Casey of Ooltewah, Tenn., as his sister, Greta, and Jared New of Jackson, Tenn., as Gregor himself.
Performances are at 8 p.m. nightly, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Oct. 17. Tickets for adults are $8 and tickets for children and students are $4. There will be refreshments and discussion with two different Union professors each night following the production. For more information, contact the Union theatre box office at (731) 661-5105.
By Alaina Kraus ('05)