Why do you think we keep trying to put him on stage?
One of the big things in acting is transforming – being able to be someone else and something else. In this text and in Metamorphosis – every actor would dream of playing in a beetle in a way! But if you then have a human being playing a monkey, it touches on the ridiculous in a way. While you are reading it, it is fine, because your imagination does it, but if you actually see a human being trying to do that….. This is theatre – you’re watching it and going this is a monkey and then you realise it isn’t. You have to be quite honest with that.
One of the things that isn’t clear in the text is who is the Academy and why is he making a presentation to them – what are your thoughts on this?
At the beginning I thought I would get rid of the Academy. I thought we didn’t need it because it was about the relationship between Kathryn and the audience. But then, actually thinking about Kafka’s love of paradoxes, there is not a bigger paradox in a monkey in front of an academy of scientists. He is taking things to the extremes. If you don’t do that, then you are loosing something, most importantly the language. At the beginning, for example, he is firing off these incredibly huge and elaborate images to impress them, so if you don’t have that feeling of formality, it doesn’t make sense.
But I am still trying to work out what is at stake for him. He must have a message, he must have anger. But he is trying to hide it while at the same time he is trying to make a message which is of course - don’t look at me, look at yourself. That is the message that the monkey is making. It is also interesting to play around with his status. It is not like a famous Hollywood actor appearing before the Academy at the Oscars – the monkey and the Academy are not of the same world. With the set designer we have talked about making the Academy quite a hostile place – we’re going to have a very shiny white floor and a huge image of a monkey, so that the audience has the expectation that the Academy wants to view him as a monkey, but his whole struggle is to show them that he is a human being and that he is actually superior.
What is your rehearsal process going to be?
Colin Teevan wrote an adaptation of the piece and he has made it into verse, so one of the things I will be working on will be the language. In the mornings we are going to do lot of physical and movement work, and in the afternoons really work on the text. Because it is a work of literature, it is not about what entrance you come in on and exit - it’s not clear what we’re going to do! I think it’s going to be a very collaborative process and Kathryn is such an incredible performer so I think things are going to change a lot every day. And the interesting thing is, is that in the whole creative team, there is only one English person so I think we are well equipped to deal with some of the questions in the text.
10. INTERVIEW WITH COLIN TEEVAN (ADAPTOR)
You have previously translated works from many languages. Did you work from the German original of A Report to an Academy when adapting or from a particular translation? To what extent do these decisions affect the work?
I have translated work for the stage directly from Greek, French, Italian and Spanish but unfortunately my range of languages is pretty bound to the Southern and Western fringes of Europe so I was unable to work directly from the German on the Kafka piece. However, there exists eight or nine translations of this short piece and between these and the constant feedback from director, Walter Meierjohann, who is German born and bilingual, I was able to examine Kafka's text pretty closely. From Walter I learned that Kafka's use of language is particular, original and complex even to German speakers. Many times Walter was unable to find satisfactorily correlative English words and phrases because German puts words together to create new concepts and this would lead to lengthy discussions even to fix on one word in the English, but this tight scrutiny of both the text and the meaning was invaluable for us both in terms of really investigating what Kafka was trying to express, and for Walter in understanding the choices I was making.
What initially attracted you to the story?
Kafka is an ingenious Fabulist. He uses a classical form, the fable, in a modern context to explore new perspectives on humanity. The key concept behind A Report to an Academy is quite simple; a monkey who has learnt how to speak is invited by the academy to give a talk on his former life as an ape. Kafka shifts the perspective by having the monkey say that in order to become human he has had to give up all memory of his ape-ness and instead he switches the focus to the former ape's view of humanity. It is simple and ingenious yet gives rise to the exploration of the most complex of emotional journeys.
The second thing that attracted me to the project was working with actress Kathryn Hunter again. We have collaborated on two other modern fables, The Bee and The Diver [based on Japanese stories], with Japanese theatre-maker Hideki Noda. These have been joyously creative and intellectual journeys, so Kafka's Monkey seemed like a logical next step for us.
Were there any particular considerations and/or challenges in the process of adaptation?
The most crucial consideration in adapting this piece was ‘where are we?’ The ‘what, where, when and who’ of it. The piece is a direct address to an audience and when you move it from page to stage, the audience become a living factor; the human other to whom the monkey tells his story. We debated long and hard as to whether we should relocate the piece to the theatre, since we would be performing it in a theatre and since the monkey has a history in music hall, or to update the piece. But each time we changed the location or period, or tried to create an artifice whereby the audience were academics or something other than they are, it seemed to reduce the metaphorical power of the piece. So, the academy became something vaguer - more Kafkaesque, perhaps - by which we mean a nightmare, a construct within the mind of the monkey. The second challenge for me was the question of an 'other'. Like Krapp's Last Tape [a one-man show by Samuel Beckett] there are several monkeys lurking in the narrator's narrative; the civilised one, the wild monkey who was caught, and the monkey who is learning to become human. Beckett, by means of a reel-to-reel recorder, presents us with three Krapps and we played around with many ideas as to how we might do something similar. There exists an entirely different version that I wrote for two Kathryn Hunters, but that one proved a bit difficult to realise.
How do you interpret the themes of the narrative? What do you think Kafka was trying to say with this story?
I think Kafka is always trying to hold a mirror to human behaviour and human society. As in The Trial or Metamorphosis, the protagonist's 'otherness' gives them a different perspective on 'normal' society. The results are that humans can often seem quite brutal. I think he also calls into question our ideas of what is 'civilised' behaviour, and ultimately what is human freedom when human existence is simply a series of learnt and repeated routines. He does this by having a 'wild' animal address the pinnacle of human achievement, the 'academy', and challenges us to question whether we are really different from, or superior to, animals. Metaphorically this raises the whole question of racial, gender or class difference.
11. INTERVIEW WITH KATHRYN HUNTER, ACTOR
What attracted you to this project?
I was attracted to the originality of the story and also wanted to work with Walter [director]. The story is depicted from the point of view of the chimpanzee, and questions what being a human being is. It also bears resonances to the theme of assimilation and the cost of that assimilation; it asks what our common humanity is. If we think of the story as being from a foreigner’s point of view, we also question the cruelty inherent in the tale.
What preparation and research did you do in advance of rehearsals?
We had two workshops before rehearsals began. In the first we explored whether to have a live musician on stage as well as the actor, part of this exploration involved depicting the musician as the trainer of the chimp. In the end we decided on a solo performance. In the second workshop Colin [writer] had made a deconstruction of the piece, where the chimp was in a laboratory and we were devising around the original story. But we decided that it was stronger to stay close to Kafka's original version. We also had trips to the Zoo to study chimpanzees.
Kathryn Hunter in Kafka’s Monkey
Can you say something about the vocal and physical elements of the role?
Finding the chimp physically is a challenge and we are keen to avoid clichéd monkey acting. We have done this by working on the animal’s different rhythms, and by exploring the creature’s structure, both inside and out. I'm interested in the combination of strength and flexibility, and calmness and violence which chimps have. Vocally, I have been working on a quality of voice which suggests a male persona as Kafka's monkey is a male chimp but I have tried to avoid a false, clichéd quality. The chimp has modelled himself on different people, so there is also a great level of imitation in his vocal quality.
Is there any element of the production which presents particular challenges to you as a performer?
To create a sense of a creature that is neither human nor chimp is incredibly complex. This is definitely a challenge physically and vocally, but also for the imagination.
12. INTERVIEW WITH ILAN REICHEL, MOVEMENT DIRECTOR
What is the role of a Movement Director?
The role is different for different shows. It can be anything from working with performers on the physicality of a character, or (especially with poetic drama such as Yeats [Irish poet and dramatist]) exploring images in the plays, or choreographing dances in a more conventional way. It can be a large range of work. Recently I have been working with Howard Barker [contemporary English dramatist]. I saw my job as being a translator; translating his writing into an accessible, immediate stage language.
What is your background?
I was always attracted to dance but I trained as an actor in Israel and for a while as an assistant director. Then I heard of a wonderful Jewish-American choreographer who was starting a dance-theatre company and I asked if I could audition. I didn’t have any dance technique but she liked me and invited me to attend the rehearsals. I performed in a few projects and she made me her assistant choreographer. The material was a combination of music and words. I was also directing modern Israeli plays alongside working for her company. I moved to London to study which included Alexander Technique [a movement technique focussing on coordination and self awareness] and ended up teaching movement at RADA [British drama school] for 21 years which enabled me to evolve my way of working, including animal studies.
What has been your process for working on the chimp in Kafka’s Monkey?
The person on stage is actually a chimp, a chimp with amazing human characteristics, but fundamentally a chimp. We went to the zoo to study monkeys which was fascinating. In order to create a live creature on stage you need to discover its physicality in as much detail as possible. It’s also very important to look at the animal’s senses. You need to discover the dominating sense, for instance the dominating sense of creatures in the sea is touch (via their skin), or hearing (through vibrations). With a chimp it’s their eyes, but they’re very tactile and use the sense of touch a lot. Animals also have a self-image of how they interact with the world. Their sense of their own strength, status and power instantly changes the language of the body. This area of the work involves studying the animal’s behaviour. One of the characteristics of chimps and gorillas is that they can reflect on what is happening, they see something and consider it before acting upon it. Usually animals react by instincts, but chimps and gorillas process the information before doing anything about it. This relates to the dynamic of movement.
What have you been working on in rehearsals?
I use Laban as a basis for my work. It is a technique used to clarify and analyse movement. Movement is broken down into four categories; body, effort, shape and space, then further sub- categorised. A chimp is powerful and uses actions such as thrusting and jabbing, so Kathryn and I will explore the physicality of being a boxer. I use the Laban definitions to be clear and to develop a specific vocabulary because I’m not interested in superficial imitation. I want to discover the essence of the animal, and then the quality of the performance will be much more profound. We also explore the bone structure of the animal, where one thing is located in relation to another thing. For example humans have their shoulder blades on their back, but most animals (particularly ones that walk on all fours) have their shoulder blades on the side of their body and this changes how they move. Once we have mastered these fundamental elements we then look at simple activities such as standing up; the way the chimp pushes itself against gravity, against the earth; then how they move; their coordination; and what kind of skin or fur they have. Eventually, when we have a whole range of the basic things, we can do exercises, imagining the animal in its natural environment. Finally, we will explore using things that humans use. In the workshop I introduced a tea cup and saucer, and we examined how Red Peter would stir with a spoon, how dexterous his fingers would be. To move away from just being a photographic imitation of an animal, actors must transpose themselves, move away from just being an animal and discover a humanised version of that animal.
13. REHEARSAL DIARY BY MIA THEIL HAVE, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
WEEK ONE 16th - 21st February 2009
The artistic team of Kafka’s Monkey met in the Maria Theatre, where we will be rehearsing and performing. Kathryn Hunter is the solo performer and around her sat a great number of enthusiastic people. A composer, an adapter, movement expert, assistant director, stage manager, director and costume designer. Everyone had a chance to present themselves. Director, Walter Meierjohann, made clear that he had chosen an international team. Between us we represented seven countries: Zimbabwe, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Greece, USA, Ireland and the UK. The play speaks about the difficulties of assimilation to a foreign culture, and I believe we all have the possibility of identifying ourselves with Red Peter, the narrator of Kafka’s story.
David Lan, Artistic Director of The Young Vic, came to greet us and wish us the best with the new production. Walter talked about his ideas for the production in a very open way; about his personal relation to the story and its importance to be told. He compared the ape’s story with Kafka’s biography and dived into the meaning of the text, context, and what it might mean to us today.
We then looked at the model of the set, images, costume design, measurements, tap shoes and sound design and talked about how much the artistic team would be present in the rehearsal space. Then Kathryn read through the play, after which we had further interesting discussions about style and choices for the play.
Colin Teevan, the adapter, Kathryn and Walter met to discuss the text and adaptation. We only use the word Monkey in the title; apart from that we use the word ape in reference to Red Peter. Apparently apes are closest to human beings, and chimps are a sub-species of the ape family. But the title seems closer to the Variety style poster and aims to tempt the audience into wanting to “go and see ‘the monkey’”. Walter would like Kathryn to work on being a human-being suppressing the ape, rather than showing from the beginning that she has the physicality of an ape. Subtle actions like these seem to fit the intimate space.
Kathryn has started meeting with Lucy, the stage manager, to go over her lines half an hour before rehearsals start. In the morning Walter, Kathryn and Ilan met. They spoke about Red Peter’s memories from his former life as an ape and his being transported on a steam boat from the Gold Coast in Africa in a cage. Ilan suggested we look at photos of a steam boat to imagine how it might have been. Walter spoke of extreme characters in Kafka’s writing and the absolute will power Red Peter has. In fact the ape is driving his trainers crazy with his eagerness and will to learn. Walter also spoke about the constant opposition in the ape between being an entertainer and suffering from a great trauma. The ape is torn between two communities not really belonging to either. Ilan and Kathryn then worked alone to re-establish some of their work from the research and development week, exploring ‘the former life as an ape’ physically.
Measurements were taken of Kathryn in order to build a cage, though this is only for rehearsals. This is to help give Kathryn a physical memory of being locked up in a cage. Walter read some of his notes from secondary literature and Kafka’s other writings. We spoke about Kafka’s life, and how A Report to an Academy is a semi-autobiographical story.
Then we had the first rehearsal with Kathryn. Kathryn was put in a much too large suit which had a very comic effect. She came in the door with a suitcase and did the first part of the speech many times. Each time she had a new invention and way of varying her way of moving, speaking and handling objects. Walter was trying to make out how much ape she should be from the very beginning. In the end he concluded that she should be as human as possible. The audience have ‘come to see the monkey’, they will have a certain expectation, and Walter would like to surprise them. Walter speaks of a mirror effect between the audience and Kathryn and the projected image of an ape on stage.
Ilan and Kathryn continued their movement work alone. The idea is for Kathryn not to feel she has to perform straight away, but give her time to find the body and memories of the ape. But I know they have a DVD of chimps, sound files and many images to take inspiration from. At the end of the session they asked me to find more sources of inspiration. They wanted to know about where the ape’s home had been on the Gold Coast, images, and videos of Muhammad Ali boxing. Ilan thought boxers and apes have physical similarities - the slightly inward feet, bent over and long arms.
As it is a big team around this production and only one actor, Walter preferred to spend the afternoon’s rehearsal with Kathryn alone. After that I was running lines with her for quite a while. She said she remembers the text by using images and building thought-bridges between passages.
Kathryn and Ilan worked on movement, starting from concentrated work on the spine and movements coming from the pelvis and centre. They looked at images of skeletons of chimps and Ilan showed where on Kathryn’s body the bones were different. The movements had a really slow rhythm and Ilan also pushed Kathryn to give resistance, so she became very aware of which part of the body was working. As a way of going back in Red Peter’s memory, they did improvisations around the idea of a young monkey waking up in the forest and going on an adventure, right up until the point when it is shot and captured.
Today we also had our first production meeting, where we discussed all sorts of practical matters for the production. Set, costumes, light and the tech week. Can we afford the floor? Can we use tap shoes on the floor? Which style of gloves were used in the period? Top hat or bowler? Will the Exit signs by the door be lit during the performance? When is the raking for the audience being built?
Walter and Kathryn rehearsed alone for a while and called us in for the last hour. Kathryn was extremely inventive and improvised many versions of the first sections of the play. Each time she came up with a variation of what she had done previously - a new way with her voice, playing with the text, her stick and suitcase and the space. She stepped out into the audience as she said, “entering the world of men” and shook hands with us, “The first thing I learned was the handshake”. She would take a sip of her hip flask as she said “We went down to the pools to drink”. Walter asked her to explore real anger and made her speak in Greek (her native language). She found a very hoarse and deep roaring quality in her voice. This rehearsal was also fruitful in exploring Red Peter’s relationship to the image of an ape which will be on a big screen. She spoke to the image as if it was her former self. For example, addressing the sentence “stop being stubborn” to the image. She had her back to us almost all of the first section. Steffi Wurster, the set designer, was present and she thought it might be interesting if the image faded when Red Peter says “This is where my own memory gradually begins.”
Walter asked me to create a list of physical actions from the life of Red Peter (such as “tickling” and “shot”), working chronologically through the text.
This morning we did an improvisation where Ilan and I joined Kathryn recreating the life in the Gold Coast jungle as chimps playing together with jungle sounds in the background. Then she was shot and became unconscious, and we put her in a cage. With sounds of a steamship on the stereo, we made a wild soundscape of whipping and terror on board the ship. Then Ilan and I became the men on the ship trying to teach her to drink rum.
Walter and Kathryn go over the text again, exploring new physical possibilities and new ways of saying individual lines.
Walter worked with Kathryn on memory and the action of remembering - that is, the search for the memory, almost like an old person. Kathryn did the section below decks in the steamer mostly with closed eyes recalling how it was. She walked behind the screen and it felt as if we changed time and space and boarded the steam boat. Steffi proposed to have a line of carpet right behind the screen so that you can’t hear her footsteps, as if to create a magic sphere of travelling in time and memory.
Today was the first tap lesson and Kathryn and Tumijan Gill had fun. Walter loved the music number Tumijan brought in, Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin”, and we will keep that for the moment. We had a look at how the tap shoes work on a small sample of the white glass floor, but they left marks and it was too slippery. So we decided Kathryn shouldn’t have the metal plates on her shoes.
WEEK TWO 23rd - 28th February 2009
Walter started the day by going through the week’s schedule. We then talked about the play. He said our normal perspective as audience members is reversed in this story: the audience have come to see the monkey but actually it becomes the animal who observes men. Ilan and Kathryn worked with the ‘sea star’, movements coming from the core and extending into the extremities of the body, the hands, feet and
head. They started from the floor and then moved into the space. They then explored the quality of Tai Chi steps, seemingly strong and soft at the same time. Ilan introduced various rhythms from the Laban movement analysis system and they had a look at which ones might be right for the chimp and which actions they would go with. For example the rhythm ‘wrenching’ seemed to transfer to when the chimps almost spin around themselves when getting up.
Walter also discovered that the two circles that Kathryn has been doing around the screen are a subtle way of going back into memory.
The composer Nikola Kodjabashi came to see today’s stagger-run, and had some good feed back. He thought the “ambiguous creature of the play breathes”, and that the “story has a temperament”. It came across to him as dark, witty, and he was left with a great sensation of having “No Way Out”. This made him think of a high frequency sound to go with that passage. He is now going away to compose more music, and will bring in proposals on Wednesday.
Walter noted that we have to look at who speaks in which episode. The choice of the ape being old is good but the rhythm needs to vary, and it is probably not necessary to illustrate the text too much. In the end of today’s rehearsal Kathryn explored how the difference between the chimp’s posture and that of say a lord or a ballet dancer would be. It was extremely funny when she changed between the human and chimp, especially when she did a Chaplin imitation.
We all went to Whipsnade Zoo to observe the chimps in their outdoor enclosure. It was excellent to see them ‘live’ and many of their characteristics were noted down and brought home to explore physically. Time Out came along to take press photos of Kathryn with the chimps.
In this rehearsal Walter introduced a microphone. He wanted to concentrate on the text and give Kathryn the chance to be in one specific point of the space. She was asked to move to and from the microphone as she felt, but that she shouldn’t think of giving a great performance, just concentrate on the text and take time to explore.
Kathryn’s response to the microphone was that it felt like a barrier between her and the audience. Walter said that the microphone gives the possibility to have many subtleties and you can hear the breathing.
The last two hours of today was in full tap-dance mode. Kathryn and Tumijan got several steps and formed them into a routine she can make variations from. Tumijan said that the swing and the confidence to play are most important in jazz. Walter also asked them to work with some ‘angry moves’, so the tap also can become a way of expressing anger and frustration in the play.
Kathryn and Walter rehearsed for some time alone. It seems important not to have any distractions around, and for them to really build a good working relationship.
Walter and Kathryn had found some wonderful things in the morning’s work. A narrator’s voice and various imitations. We worked on the beginning; as Kathryn said, Walter is “collecting beginnings”, trying to find the best solution.
Nikola brought in music this afternoon, and it gave new life to a piece of text which became almost another Variety number with the underscoring music.
Kathryn and Ilan worked with images of chimps, finding useful physical compositions and ways of going from one image to the next, with a soft quality. They tried to recreate the thoughtfulness of the chimp.
Today Kathryn had a ‘hat trick’ session with a circus artist, Stewart Pemberton. Red Peter in the story has many teachers, and so does Kathryn! She learnt about five tricks with a specially designed hat that has more weight to it than a normal bowler.
At today’s production meeting we talked about shoes suitable for the floor and planned a costume fitting. Another question was where the aisle through the audience should be and right now the thought is in the
centre, as Kathryn goes out into the audience. Walter wanted Kathryn to give out nuts to the audience but apparently it is not allowed because of health and safety. Maybe bananas will be possible.
We worked on scene 3. Walter introduced a lectern as part of the set. Ilan suggested a moment when Kathryn touches her scar on the cheek, that she uses the thumb as it is a bit more monkeyish.
In today’s tap lesson we worked a dance routine together with a bit of text, so that the words and the movements fit together.
Today Walter worked on the sequence of drinking rum, exploring the physical initial revulsion to the rum bottle. They also improvised a physical scene after Red Peter’s first success in draining a rum bottle. It was a triumphal scene where Red Peter made the audience clap and performed all sorts of acrobatic movements completely drunk. Another great discovery was the difficulty of learning to speak. Kathryn spelled out her own name with great difficulty and it was both comic and disturbing.
WEEK THREE 2nd – 7th March 2009
We kept exploring the new physical sequences and the speech difficulty idea seemed to be useful for the words ‘no way out’ which are used several times in the play, and are connected with a particularly difficult situation.
We explored more possibilities for the beginning of the play and questions came up such as: How should Kathryn enter, from the screen, the door, the audience? Are we going to use the lectern as part of the set?
In today’s rehearsal we worked on the movement for the drinking sequence. Nikola made suggestions for the music for the tap routine. Walter and Kathryn worked on the beginning, trying to find arguments and to express cynicism through warmth. Walter has always dreamt of being able to “zap” actors onto stage. Walter tried a version of Kathryn being ‘zapped’ onto stage in a short black out.
Walter worked on the key images in the text such as the cage and the drinking. Kathryn was asked to try and hide the ape, so as to convince the academy that Red Peter was a human being. We also found out more about which words are addressed directly to the audience.
We had a look at where the hat tricks could fit into scenes, so they appear as surprises and have meaning in relation to the text. Kathryn also wanted to find motivations for going behind the screen. In general, she is finding all the interior logic at the moment. Walter showed a clip from the film Opening Night by John Cassavetes. It has an excellent scene with an incredibly drunk woman who has to perform. It seemed to give Kathryn inspiration of how to create her drunk sequence.
In the lunch break Kathryn had her first costume fitting. The costume has been made so that she can move freely, and Kathryn tested the trousers by going into the splits and they stood the test. A special hat has also been ordered, one suited for hat tricks as it has more weight to it.
We had a first run through. David Lan was present and he gave very valuable feedback. He asked what’s at stake for Red Peter, which led to a discussion about who the Red Peter is and could resemble in reality. Red Peter could be compared with an asylum seeker, who might be accepted or might not get a passport. The big question was about Red Peter’s relation to the Academy. Who are they to him? Complicit with Mr. Hagenbeck3? Scientists? Might they put him into a laboratory cage for experiments any time?
This morning Kathryn tried to incorporate the new thoughts from yesterday about Red Peter’s relation to the Academy. With Colin Teevan and Walter she went through the beginning, making sure that all the images were clear and came across to the audience. The first scene is quite literary and in the end they made the decision to cut out a few passages.
At today’s production meeting we discussed next week’s technical schedule. While the audience seating is put in we will have another space to rehearse in, so no precious time will be wasted. We talked about how the side lights will be put up because it will influence how Kathryn will move in the space.
The drinking from the hip flask is a sign of nervousness, and now Red Peter turns his back to the audience the first couple of times he drinks, so as not to show the Academy. Later he cheers with them, talking complicity about having shared many a good bottle of wine with his capturer. We had a look through the play to see when he would drink.
Walter works with the principle that every time Red Peter goes too far, showing the monkey in him or anger, he corrects himself. Red Peter now enters from the door with papers, suitcase and walking stick.
Tumijan came and repeated the tap routine. We try to avoid the text and the steps having the same rhythm, which seems to give a much better swing and a way of listening to the words. Nikola splices an orchestral piece and a solo piano number for the dance.
Kathryn and Walter also rehearsed in the evening, exploring more about his relationship to the Academy.
Nicola had recorded the music and we rehearsed the tap routine. It was quite different from having a live pianist who can follow dance and improvisation. Now Kathryn has to follow the music, so the dance has to be quite fixed.
We continued laying out the inner journey of Red Peter, and exploring the relationship to the audience. Kathryn was comparing each passage to a situation in reality. For example when Red Peter says he will show his scar to anyone he wants, she compared it to a person who has been in a concentration camp during World War II and has the right to show the number on their inner arm, even though it is unpleasant for people to see. Walter said that Red Peter is like a jester who is allowed to say truths about humanity.
We had another run through with our first audience members from outside. It seemed to give Kathryn a lot to have someone there with fresh eyes and ears - someone who had never heard the story before.
We rehearsed the dance number with a new addition - a little strip tease (only jacket, gloves and hat came off). It was an exploration of how Red Peter might have sold himself at all costs to become recognised as a human being, It also had something human-animal about it.
Walter and Kathryn explored the scene on the ship, where Red Peter remembers the crew members. It became like stepping into a memory, a nightmare, with closed eyes and moving almost as though asleep in the space, until awakened by the tickling of the crew.
Today we tried out our run-through on a new audience member, and... we should be ready for next week’s tech and first preview....
There has been more material written about Kafka than any other modern writer. Below is a list of the resources used in the compilation of this pack.
Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee (Secker & Warburg: 1999).
Franz Kafka: A Biography by Max Brod (Da Capo Press: 1995).
Kafka by Erich Heller (Fontana Modern Masters: 1974).
Kafka for Beginners by David Zane Mairowitz and Robert Crumb (Icon Books: 1993).
Kafka’s Last Love by Kathi Diamant (Secker & Warburg: 2003).
The Lives of Animals by J. M. Coetzee (Princeton Paperbacks: 1999).
The Loves of Frank Kafka by Nahum Glatzer (Schocken Books: 1986).
The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka by Ernst Pawel (Vintage Books: 1985).