& Events : NoHo review of The
of The Trial by NoHo>LA
(Mar 30-Apr 12, 2004):
is defined as nightmarishly strange, mystifying
and bizarre. Add these characteristics to a
bland plot borderline existentialist and you
create a surrealistic state not dissimilar to
many of life’s terrors. A man arrested
for no apparent reason goes on a hopeless quest
to find the answers in a totalitarian society
– a victim forever at odds with genuine
free will. Franz Kafka’s The Trial currently
onstage at Write-Act Repertory shows life as
a trap. All the women are seen as sluts, and
the men – vehement, sexual pigs –
a black and distorted image of what man can
be in any place at any time. I have always found
plays of this type that have no story and no
genuine humanity to be cold and pretentious.
But we are dealing with Franz Kafka considered
by many to be a genius for all time.
And fans of his heady style should bask in the
splendor of Write-Act’s production, which
is a mammoth undertaking in every way. The atmosphere
created by guest Turkish director Aclan Bates-Buyukturkoglu,
not unlike a great European cirque with stage
fog and masked clowns lurking around every corner,
is an eyeful that lingers luridly in the mind,
similar to Stanley Kubrick’s last film
Eyes Wide Shut.
Credit AD/Clown Wendy Gough for the beautiful
masks, Kemal Gunuc for his eerie original music,
Robert Howeth for a massively impressive set
design that includes the audience as part of
the courtroom, Becki Hoffmann for early 20th
century working-class garb appropriately improvised
and grungy and garish yet skillful choreography
(it demands attention!) to Bates himself.
Outstanding is Ralph
Lister as Titorelli the painter
who has more persuasive power than an evangelist.
His is my favorite scene in the play for the
protagonist Josef K buys into the very bullshit
that he is burning to overturn.
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