Metamorphosis is a production based on Franz Kafka’s novella. Metamorphosis was performed at the Parco Theater in Tokyo and captured and made available for viewing online through Digital Theatre Plus. Metamorphosis currently has English subtitles supported for international audiences.
Written by Weon Taek Na
The story of Metamorphosis begins with the character Gregor Samsa. Gregor explains to the audience exactly who he and each of the other actors and actresses are, and their unique situation. This type of narrative and storytelling gives the audience a direct exposition of the storyline and unburdens the audience from needing to piece together scattered information throughout a performance, trying to understand the storyline.
Metamorphosis was portrayed by a small cast, using a minimalistic set of props and costumes. The actors and actresses gave phenomenal performance using movements as a body language. The body language played two roles in the performance; while the body language helped the understanding if the prop placements, the physical movements also gave the audience a feeling of discomfort and sympathy.
There were only three chairs placed evenly apart across the stage. The set only consisted of a minimalist, framed structure, extending to encompass the multiple actors. The actors and actresses came about in a selection of scenes.
My favorite design element is the use of the clock noises to tell time. In this play, unlike many other performances we have seen this semester, the actors do not only depend on themselves to create sound. It was most noticeable when Gregor’s every step once he became an insect was followed by a sound mimicking the sound of an insect. The precision that is required of the actors is incredible and impressive.
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.
Overall, Metamorphosis was definitely a unique and different performance from traditional plays. The storyline was unique from the start and the cast successfully portrayed the emotions with little help from the props or costumes. Another unique element of Metamorphosis was the use of clock noises during the story. The clock noises although superficial represented time itself. For anyone, who is considering watching Metamorphosis, I strongly recommend the performance. It is available for online viewing at Digital Theatre Plus.