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The Trial

Writer- Franz Kafka
Company - Bedlam
Venue - Bedlam Theatre

"Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K. for without his having done anything wrong, he was arrested one fine morning." Thus begins The Trial, one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. It is a nightmare tale of a normal man being destroyed by sinister implacable forces that he never understands: K. is finally executed without ever learning what he was arrested for in the first place.

This adaptation and staging are competent, but lack any sense of darkness. The paranoia, despair, black humour and madness of Kafka's tale are all missing. A narrator coldly watches the story unfold. This device works well, but it's not enough, and the bulk of the play falls flat. The sexual parts of the story are handled without subtlety, drowning out several scenes.

The Trial is Kafka's blackest work: evil is everywhere, acquittal or redemption impossible, effort and struggle only indicate man's impotence. There are already several adaptations by luminaries such as Orson Welles and Steven Berkoff. It would be unfair to compare a student production with either of these. There is no comparison.

� Daniel Winterstein & Ewen Maclean, 5th December 2001


© Daniel Winterstein 1998-2008

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