Kafka on stage in Belgium

This video is called Franz Kafka The Trial part 1.

On Friday 21 May, in Ghent, Belgium, there were two plays by famous Czech author Franz Kafka on stage.

The plays were In the Penal Colony and The Burrow.

Well, of course, Kafka never wrote plays. He wrote for his disabled workers’ insurance administration job, he wrote letters to his family and friends, he wrote unfinished novels, and short stories, including In the Penal Colony and The Burrow.

So, Flemish Bart Meuleman not only translated them into Dutch, but also made them into plays.

First, The Burrow was performed as a monologue by one actor. The only character in The Burrow is not specifically described by Kafka as human or an animal species. According to the English Wikipedia, it is “mole-like”, while the German Wikipedia calls it badger-like. It certainly is not a “kavka” (jackdaw in Czech), from which the author derived his name.

In the first line, the character says that he has finished building a big underground burrow and is proud of it. However, there is a vague sound, which makes the character doubt more and more whether the new burrow really provides him with the safety which he worked so hard for. The sound may be some unknown enemy. Whether Kafka intended to say that the enemy existed just in the character’s imagination, or that he really existed, we don’t know, as only an unfinished version of The Burrow exists.

After the actor said the last line of the monologue, the stage curtain rose, with a loud explosive sound, to reveal the setting for the next play based on Kafka, In the Penal Colony. The burrow character changed clothes on stage to become the soldier, one of the four Penal Colony roles.

5 thoughts on “Kafka on stage in Belgium

  1. Pingback: The Existential Nightmare: KAFKA and BORGES « Otove

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