Metamorphosis: Misery of a Bug Man

Written by Zeying Lang

“Steven Berkoff’s iconic adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novella, which tells the tale of a travelling salesman who is transformed into an insect, is brought to life in this highly physical and visually striking production. Captured live at the Parco Theater in Tokyo, this landmark performance is in Japanese with English subtitles.” —– Steven Berkoff

Screenshot retrieved from https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/east-productions/metamorphosis
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The Container

Written by Zeying Lang

Figure and Info Retrieved from https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/digital-theatre/the-container

Hunger. Stink. Darkness. Uncertainty. In a dark container, five people, from different countries, are bundled with the same destinite. They have zero control and information about what’s going on at the outside of the container. 

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Reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet

Written by Zeying Lang

Poster retrieved from https://www.rsc.org.uk/romeo-and-juliet/

What if the person your love is from the family that you are supposed to hate. What if the love of you is forbidden and strongly against by all your families. Would the love be as passionate and pure, or would you call it the doomed faith for love and leave…

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The Compelling Tale of The Container

The claustrophobic and suspenseful story of refugees being smuggled to England keeps the audience short-of-breath and on the edge of their seats.
-By Daniel Holley

In this production of The Container, we are sent along on the intense journey of several refugees travelling in a shipping container. They each have their own personalities and backgrounds, but as tensions rise and the situation becomes increasingly desperate, we see their frustrations overcome them in some way. Each character makes sacrifices and must live with the consequences, and companionship is hard to come by in these circumstances. One interesting arc is the evolution of the relationship between a man and young woman. While at first the man laughs at the woman’s ambitions, he eventually gives in and encourages her to follow her dreams.

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The Spooky Story of The Container

The Container, a production by Clare Bayley, was performed live in a real shipping container right outside of London’s Young Vic Theatre and made available through Digital Theatre +.

Written by Willa Wu

The director of this production, Tom Wright, sought to explore the disturbing truths of asylum seekers through the setting of a shipping container.  Throughout this production, he adopted a very realistic feel to the audience by having the performance take place in an actual shipping container.

Flashlights illuminating the actress’s face.
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An Empty Stage That Is Full

“Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.

Written by Jackie Dominguez

This past month has been the hardest without a doubt. Today I think it’s safe to say is one of top 5 hardest days in my life. Needless to say, the world keeps on spinning and I need to finish my assignments for the year. When I clicked on the link to the dance performance of Virago-Man Dem, I didn’t know that a performance during this hard time would provide me with a comfort that I didn’t think was possible to have in a time like this.

I would’ve never imagined I would be watching a performance like Virago-Man Dem in my living room, but here we are.
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A Shakespeare Tragedy: Macbeth

One of Shakespeare’s most famous pieces of work “Macbeth” was produced in a play directed by Gemma Bodinetz. “Macbeth” tells the story of a man who rises to power, lets it get to his head, and ends up beheaded because of that reason. This production was viewed on Digital Theatre Plus, where one can also find multiple productions written by Shakespeare.

Written by: Lydia Amezcua-Ramirez

The opening scene where the 3 witches foretell the beginning of the play.

Shakespeare language

This play can be very confusing to understand if one is not familiar with Shakespearean language which involves modern English. Since I do not read his work I was not familiar with much of the vocabulary used in the play. A recommendation for the audience who wishes to view this production would be to read a background on the play, so that confusion does not arise. The overview on Digital Theatre Plus does not provide sufficient information on the play so I would suggest using spark-notes in order to have a good understanding of plot overview. This is what I did beforehand so that I could understand the issues among each act (there were five in total).

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A Contemporary Audience

Since Shakespeare’s plays are dated back to older times, that might be an issue for entertainment purposes since it might not be as interesting as more modern plays. What I liked about this production was that the audience was able to sit alongside the stage instead of being far away from It. This way, the audience would really be able to pay attention since the performance is up close.

What I also like about the production was that it appealed to the contemporary audience by having the characters dress in both modern and ancient costuming, which provided a balance for the viewers. For example, the witches wore ancient, beige, wrinkly gowns along with holding sticks. As for modern clothing, Macbeth would start out wearing modern costuming consisting of black pants and a long sleeve button up shirt.

Also, given that the play is on Digital Theatre Plus, it makes it accessible for people to view if they are interested in Shakespeare instead of having to pay for seeing It or take the longer route and read about It. The production definitely makes it easier for one to view because of the subtitles that go along with it as well as going back to a scene if one was not able to understand it the first time around.

The Overall Conflict

Macbeth wished to overthrow the king of Scotland, King Duncan, due to the trio of witches telling him “All hail Macbeth” at the beginning of the play, indicating that he would become king soon. Macbeth was a general of a battle which succeeded and he was then rewarded by being named thane of Cawdor. Soon after, Macbeth took matters into his own hands to make what the witches had told him possible. Alongside this decision was his wife, who persuaded Macbeth to kill King Duncan in his sleep.

Macbeth after killing King Duncan, shown by the overwhelming amount of blood on his hands.

The blood on his hands was attention grabbing which aided the storytelling because one can easily assume something tragic has happened. If there was not any blood, it would have been harder to tell that Macbeth killed the king. It was in this very scene that he said “Macbeth shall sleep no more”. The guilt of killing someone would be that very thing keeping him up at night because his conscience would not be able to handle such weight.

Macbeth crowned the king after murdering King Duncan.

This scene depicts the uniqueness of costuming. Macbeth had dressed himself in what was the old king’s clothing. The crown especially is something that we do not see in modern times which makes one analyze it more. This type of costuming helps aid the storytelling because of the role that Macbeth was now fulfilling.

Macbeth’s death scene where he is beheaded with a sword.

Overall, the production was an eye opener for me because I had never seen one of Shakespeare’s plays before. I would recommend viewing this play because it gives one the opportunity to expand their range of productions. It can be a good change for one to step out of their comfort zone and view things they normally would not because at the end they might enjoy it !

A Buggy Life: The Crazy New Life of Gregor

By Veronica Y Gonzalez
Play Preview
The Sister, Father, and Mother

Play Information

Metamorphosis is a Japanese play based on the novel by Franz Kafka. It tells the story of a salesman who works too much because he has to provide for his mother, father, and sister. Overnight, he is suddenly transformed into an insect. His life drastically changes after this. Not only does he lose his job, but his family treats him in a completely different way.

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Magic Metamorphosis

by Tyler Tubbs

Hello and thank you for coming back once again! Not being able to visit the theaters in person hasn’t kept us from continuing our theatrical exploration! Using UIUC’s digital theater, I was able to enjoy Steven Berkoff’s Metamorphosis, an adaptation of a Franz Kafka novella. In this production a young man finds himself transformed into a repulsive, human-sized bug as he’s forced to suffer in a dark, cramped room for the rest of his existence.

The set and props were incredibly simple, with only three stools and and a raised platform with climbing bars perched to it. Although the set was incredibly minimalistic, the use of lighting, slow-motion, etc., allowed the scenes to flow properly and conveyed the passing of time. The actor who played Gregor, the man-bug, really astonished me in his performance. The entire production hinged on having an amazing performer be Gregor as his voice is so critical to the entire mood and tension of the show. All of this is not to mention that as well as giving a dazzling performance, we all know he got an even better leg workout while he was cramped up as a dung beetle!

Thank you so much, once again, for stopping by! Please check back soon as I will be visiting one of the Shakespeare classics on the Digital Theater.

Link to performance: https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/east-productions/metamorphosis