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Kafka's Disgusting Tale of Transformation, A Buffoon's Metamorphosis
by Phillip Andrew Bennett Low • August 4, 2008 • Sincere kudos to the performers, who fully commit. Unfortunately, the problem is that they're committing to something that's simply unbearable to sit through.
Womb With a View is the blog of Phillip Andrew Bennett Low, one of five bloggers covering the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the Daily Planet.I think that the success of this kind of clowning hinges on giving the performers something to play *against* -- in plays like 3 Sticks' "Borderlines," they were set loose in the world of politics. In the "Bouffon Glass Menajoree," they gleefully tore apart Tennessee Williams' text. I suspect that the intention was to do something similar with Kafka, but too little of his work remains. He hasn't been comically distorted; he's simply unrecognizable, leaving the rest of the play to descend into seemingly random chaos. The other element they're holding up -- and this is interesting -- the protagonist's transformation is into an actual thinking, feeling human being, who's incapable of functioning in a world inhabited by monsters. This is a cool idea -- except that his transformation is rather into a trite, self-absorbed individual, spouting the power of positive thinking, bereft of any genuine insight. Maybe that's inevitable, in the world of this play -- that he's incapable of transforming into anything else -- but it still feels like a missed opportunity. Phillip Andrew Bennett Low (maximumverbosityonline [at] gmail [dot] com) is a playwright and poet, storyteller and mime, theatre critic and libertarian activist, who lurks ominously in the desert wilds of St. Louis Park, feasting upon the hygienically-prepared flesh of the once-living. His main claim to fame is probably as co-founder of the Rockstar Storytellers, and as founder/producer of Maximum Verbosity, a garage-band-like theatre troupe that is in a state of constantly re-defining itself.