“Metamorphosis” is a unique production, written by Frank Kafka, where the main character who is a salesman ends up transforming into a terrifying insect and isolates himself from his family and the world. This production can be found of Digital Theatre Plus and since it is produced in Japanese, there are English subtitles to understand the storyline.
By Lydia Amezcua Ramirez
Gregor Is a salesman who works endlessly to help support his family because he is the only one bringing in the income. One day he begins to feel ill and misses work which is unheard of from him. To his family’s surprise his illness was much worse than they expected because he had transformed into an insect that they became afraid of. Gregor spent the rest of his days isolated in his room from his family until one day he dies and his family moves on.
One of the messages that this production taught me is that one cannot solely rely on one person to always be the provider, people will have to learn to fend for themselves because you never know what life will throw at you. Another message that I was able to get from this production is the importance of family. No matter how horrified Gregor’s family were, they never tossed him out, they had to find a way to keep a financial income and at the same time keep Gregor hidden.
When Gregor was transformed into an insect, that impeded his family from being able to communicate with him as well as understand him. This production reminded me of a book in first person where the main character allows us into his thoughts. The audience watching this performance were able to understand what was going through Gregor’s thoughts as he spoke to us while the rest of the cast would be frozen in motion. This was something that I enjoyed because insects cannot speak and one wonders what goes on through their head, but this was something that the audience did not have to interpret.
Another unique element was the set of the production. Most plays and productions have various sets or different backgrounds given a certain scene that they are supposed to act out. Here, the characters performed various scenes within the same arrangement on the stage. What I mean by this is that the kitchen, living room, and Gregor’s room had to be portrayed in the same stage setup. The set up consisted of 3 stools for the mom, dad, and sister of Gregor, and a large metallic design of pipes, which took up most of the set. This was mainly used for Gregor to climb on since he had tuned into an insect.
Lastly, background noises added to the unique elements I noticed in the production. Since there were not enough props because the set was based on simplicity, there would be background noises to add emphasis during the production. For example, when Gregor’s sister had to “thump” on Gregor’s “door” for it to open, there would be noises that made large thumping sounds. I quoted “thump” and “door” because movements would be exaggerated to go with the background effects/noises and because there was not an actual door, the characters made it seem as so.
At first I was confused as to why these elements were in the production because I have never seen them. Just like the production, the elements were something new to me and given that this was a Japanese production I had to keep in mind that other cultures have different ways of conveying arts. I liked the uniqueness of “Metamorphosis” because it brought a new perspective of how other cultures may use props and storylines differently than what I am used to seeing.