Tag Archives: Metamorphosis

Final Self-Reflection of Art in Motion FAA 110

Written by Weon Taek Na

As I searched for a last course to fill my general education requirement, I wanted the course to be special. I wanted a course that I gave me a hands on experience outside of the typical engineering courses that I took. A close friend of mine suggested FAA 110 as such a course, and I am so glad that she did. FAA 110 became the favorite class that I took at University of Illinois. I had very little knowledge nor experience in arts and I was able to enjoy the amazing performances and museums that were held at our university.

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The Final Blog: A Semester in Review

Written By: Zackarya Faci

Let me start off by saying this has been the most enjoyable course I have taken in all my four years here at the university. I was able to explore the arts and earn a new appreciation for them–something engineering students don’t often find themselves doing. I looked forward to coming to class, since we were always either doing a cool activity or taking an interesting tour, and spend my evenings in the Krannert Center. Sadly, we were not able to spend the entire semester together due to COVID-19, but I was still able to explore beautiful performances online through Digital Theatre+. Here’s a recap of the performances seen throughout the semester:

The Butterfly Lovers

The first performance we saw as a class was The Shanghai Ballet performing “The Butterfly Lovers” at the start of the Chinese New Year. I had never seen a ballet prior and was half-expecting to be bored by the event. However, that was definitely not the case. I was enamored by how well they were able to tell a story without ever saying a single word. The skillful movements and intentional lighting were enough to convey the exact emotions felt onstage.

Drumfolk

The next performance, by Step Afrika!, I enjoyed even more. They brought history to life with the their percussive talents. With a simple stage and intriguing costume design, it was easy to focus on what the performers wanted us to see.

Somi

Somi is a Jazz musician who performed some songs from her recent album. I never really listened to Jazz music before, so I am glad I attended this performance. Somi’s songs were so soothing yet powerful all at the same time. She also sang about some issues that were important to me.

Anna Deavere Smith

Seeing Smith perform was a bit of a curve ball to me. I was not sure what to expect when heading to this performance. It was not like any of the other performances we have seen; this was a one-woman show. She recreated interviews she conducted and did so with a lot of emotion. While being funny, yet serious, her impersonations of her interviewees sold the show.

Cabaret

The night of Unofficial the class attended Cabaret–which was very fitting. Cabaret was a comedic, scandalous musical set in 1930s Germany. Many scenes were risquĂ©, but honestly it was refreshing to see a performance that was more adult-oriented. This was also the first performance I’ve seen that had subtitles above the stage–something I found very interesting.

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice was the first performance I viewed online after in-person classes were postponed. It was a witty comedy that touched upon some serious topics. I read the play in high school so it was nice to revisit it and see how the performance compared to simply reading the play.

The Container

The Container was a very unique performance. Being performed in a shipping container with low light really set the mood for the entire performance. The choice to perform in a shipping container was ingenious, and I wish I could have been there to see it performed live. The story was already compelling and sincere as is, but being there in person would have been a whole new level of immersion.

Metamorphosis

The final performance I viewed this semester was Metamorphosis. This was definitely a wacky one. The movements by the performers were flamboyant and exaggerated–fitting with the peculiar story. The performance was also in Japanese, so I had to follow along with subtitles. Metamorphosis opened my mind to watch other forms of media that may not be in a language I understand.

Closing Thoughts

A sincere thank you goes out to Dr. Collins and Prof. Robinson. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this class, but I took away more than I could have ever asked for. They always had so much energy and never failed to brighten up my day. They also helped us explore the arts in ways a typical class could never. Thank you for helping me explore performances I probably would have never seen on my own. Thank you for making my final semester a great one! 🙂

Metamorphosis: Salesman Turned Insect

Metamorphosis is Steven Berkoff’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novella, which tells the tale of a travelling salesman who is transformed into an insect. The performance took place in the Parco Theater in Tokyo and was made available through Digital Theatre Plus.

Written By: Zackarya Faci

The first thing that struck me about Metamorphosis is that it was performed in Japanese. The video was accompanied by English subtitles which undoubtedly helped me understand what was going on through the performance. This is the beauty of digital performances; we are able to enjoy works that we might not otherwise comprehend in person. The performance opened with Gregor Samsa elucidating who he was and giving background about the other characters. This is atypical from other performances, and it seemed like he will be narrating the story instead of acting in it.

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Metamorphosis: A Commentary on the Working Class

Metamorphosis is a play that is adapted from a novel by Franz Kafka. It was adapted by Steven Berkoff who also directed the production that I watched on Digital Theatre +. This version was performed by the Parco Theatre in Tokyo, Japan.

By Elena Grantcharski

The plot is about a salesman named Gregor who works very hard every day to support his family. From the very first scene, we learn that his job is very strict. He has to take a 5am train to work because if he is late he will be fired. On the next day, Gregor turns into an insect. He can hear his family trying to wake him up, he can understand them, but he cannot do anything to reply because he literally became an insect. The actor’s use of the body here was really impressive. He did not wear a costume of an insect. Instead, he contorted his body and made bug-like motions which were very effective in creeping me out but also impressed me on actually how much he looked at a bug at some points. While he struggles with his new reality, his boss comes to his home and interrogates his parents and sister on his absence, showing how absorbed Gregor’s life was by his job. 

An example of how the actor contorted his body to look like an insect.
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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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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

“What if you turn into a bug”: The Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis is an ironic adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel directed by Steven Berkoff. It depicts a fantastic tale that a salesman turned into a bug one day, and his life is changed dramatically.

Written by Bingchen Li

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug” is the opening sentence from Franz Kafka’s masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. The director Steven Berkoff is a good storyteller that he successfully transforms the original into a show. As the curtain rises at the very beginning of the play, the whole stage is showed to the audience directly. There is only a framed structure at the center and 3 actors sit on the chairs. Those are all props used in the play. The main character is Gregor Samsa, a salesman who needs to travel a lot and around the nation to get more orders. He lives with his parents and his little sister, Greta. After a long day of hardworking, as usual, Gregor felt uncomfortable and went to the bed. However, when he waked up, he found that he turned into a bug. His life dramatically changed because of the metamorphosis.

Minimalist stage, only a framed stucture and chairs

Audiences could know the background from the beginning of the play that the Samsa family’s living expenses rely on Gregor’s work. Gregor needs to work hard to feed his families, such as his father’s cigar, his mother’s clothes, and his sister’s violin classes. Gregor does not show up for breakfast and late for work because he turns into a bug. We can notice that when Chief Clerk comes to his home, his parents and sister treat Chief like he is the dearest guest. It all because Gregor’s salary is the only income for his family, and that is why his boss is so arrogant.

Good use of light and shadow to express depressed atmosphere

In addition, people’s attitudes are other details that we should pay attention to. Before his transformation, his father is proud of his son, and his sister thinks he is the best brother in the world. Gregor’s boss treats him like cattle. However, after his transformation, people’s attitudes changed hugely. His father hits Gregor by an apple. His mother does not want to feed him and is fear to face him. Greta loved his brother at the beginning, but when she found Gregor was worthless to her, she suggested her parents expel Gregor. The reason behind the attitude changing is the Samsa family and his boss only care about their own benefit so that ignore the sympathy and relationship between people.

The actor tries to perform an insect with vivid body language

Compare to watch the play in person, I prefer a recorded online performance. Audiences could notice more details through close-ups, such as facial expressions and body language. Gregor’s fingers trembled just like antennas of an insect. There are no props in the show but three chairs, so actors pretend their hands are forks and knives to eat. In addition, Gregor’s room is a framed structure, or from my perspective, more like a cage. It is a metaphor to express Gregor’s life. Before the transformation, he worked to feed his family. He was chained by the family. After becoming a bug, he was locked in the room, waiting to be fed.

All in all, this is a really impressive performance, I highly recommend you to watch it during the time the whole world turned upside down. Be safe!

A New Beginning: Metamorphosis

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

The salesman, Gregor, and his family which he supports through his job

Storyline

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.

Transformed into an insect, the salesman crawls around as his family becomes frightened of him

Unique Elements

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.

Part of the metallic pipes which Gregor, now an insect, used to climb upon

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.

Metamorphosis: A Story of Bizarreness

Metamorphosis is a theatrical production based on a novella of the same name written by Franz Kafka. It tells a bizarre story which was about a salesman who was transformed into a huge insect and his struggles to adjust to the new conditions. The production was directed by Steven Berkoff and was captured live at the Parco Theatre in Tokyo. I watched this with English subtitles on the Digital Theatre Plus.

The title of the production, including the director and the year of production
A screenshot of the production

Written by: Yushan Guo

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