The Bizarre Story of Metamorphosis

A small cast with minimal props and costumes uses a combination of exposition and physical movements to make the audience feel both discomfort and sympathy.
-By Daniel Holley

Gregor poses as he slides back into his room

With the main problem in this play being the abrupt transformation of man to insect, one would expect elaborate prosthetics or costumes to play an important role. In this production of Metamorphosis, however, the cast never changes costume, and they instead rely on their bodies and voices to tell the story. This is best seen in the most important character of Gregor, played by Mirai Moriyama. After Gregor transforms, he uses bizarre body movements and sounds to portray the strange creature he has become. Even his facial expressions lend to his character as swaps between intense anger and a blank stare, adding to his inhuman aura.

Gregor remains isolated from his family as an insect

The stage was also used to its maximum potential with few props or decorations. Gregor’s home was the main setting, and his bedroom was where he stayed for a majority of the play. A small structure is used as his room, symbolizing Gregor’s confinement to a small space while the rest of his family is free to move about the rest of the stage. The bars on the structure also allow Gregor to hang and swing, further adding to his ability to demonstrate his insect qualities with strange movements and postures.

Gregor’s use of bizarre body movements and noises makes him less human

Although the characters do not change costumes, the costumes they do wear are significant in their own way. Each member of Gregor’s family wears an outfit of entirely black, which may symbolize their sadness with the events of the play. Gregor also wears a large amount of black, but his long white sleeves set him apart from his family. The white in Gregor’s outfit may show that he is less upset about his condition as his family is, who are burdened with taking care of him and the uncertainty of his mental state. The only character that wore a non-grayscale costume was the lodger, who wore gold as a beacon of hope for the family’s declining finances.

In conclusion, this was one of the most bizarre, yet impressive performances I have ever seen. The cast was incredibly talented in their ability to portray so much emotion with so little assistance from props or costumes. Mirai Moriyama was especially impressive in his portrayal of Gregor, and he used great athleticism and body control to make the audience see him as an insect rather than man. While this type of performance may not be for everybody, it is undoubtedly deserving of appreciation.

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