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The Metamorphosis

Premiere: Teatro Bonci, Cesena, 28/02/2020

About this event

The award-winning British director Matthew Lenton, artistic director and founder of the Glasgow-based Vanishing Point company, after directing 1984, returns to collaborate with Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione. This time he faces Franz Kafka’s most famous and ironic story in an international co-production.
The Metamorphosis is the story of an ordinary man who wakes up one morning to find he has been transformed into a giant insect. Soon he begins to realise he’s got bigger problems than being late for work. His family, shocked by his bizarre condition, barricade him into his room, unwilling to accept that somewhere inside this behemoth of a bug is their son.
Franz Kafka’s hugely influential, tragicomic, iconic novella is brought vividly to life in this international co-production between Vanishing Point, Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione in Italy and Tron Theatre, adapted and directed by Vanishing Point’s Matthew Lenton and designed by Kenneth MacLeod (The Dark Carnival).

The Metamorphosis is a twin brother or sister to 1984. In fact, my experience creating 1984 for ERT Fondazione influenced my decision to find another story to adapt into a theatre show. But which one? I’d read Metamorphosis as a young man and was underwhelmed. “Is that it?” I thought. “A man turns into a bug and his family doesn’t like it. That’s it?”.
Re-reading it with twenty more years of life experience behind me, my reaction was very different. Like 1984, it seemed to be speaking about the world I see around me, an old story completely relevant to the times we’re living in today. It’s about how easy it is for somebody to feel different from everyone else. But, more importantly, how easy it is for everybody else to be afraid of some one because of their difference – for the majority to be afraid of the minority. It’s complex – it makes us understand why the majority can be afraid – Gregor Samsa turns into a giant insect after all. Wouldn’t we all be scared of a giant insect in our house, even if it used to be our brother? How would we react? When would our love and patience run out? By placing the audience in the mind of Gregor, the story elicits our sympathy to be with him. It gets us to ask the question, what if it were me? How would I hope other people would react if I were in his position?
In my production, Gregor Samsa is played by the young Italian actor, Nico Guerzoni. Nico speaks a different language from the rest of the actors, he is from a different country and culture, and we are using that in the production to explore the nature of difference. What if Gregor also looked and spoke like he came from another country?
The Metamorphosis develops some of the techniques we used on 1984 – like darkness and light, the voyeuristic prism of a screen, and the relationship between inner and outer voices – the two shows share something of a visual language.
I should also say, we hope to retain the wonderful darkness and humour of Kafka’s story, which is often very funny. Like the best works, it explores serious things by, sometimes, making you laugh.

Matthew Lenton


Artistic Data

created by Vanishing Point
after the story by Franz Kafka
adapted and directed by Matthew Lenton
text by the Company
performed by Elicia Daly, Nico Guerzoni, Paul Thomas Hickey, Robert Jack, Alana Jackson, Sam Stopford, Hannah Visocchi
set & costume design by Kenneth MacLeod
lighting design by Simon Wilkinson
sound design and music composition by Mark Melville

associate director Joanna Bowman
production manager Fiona Fraser
company stage manager Lee Davis
deputy stage manager Gillian Richards
technical stage manager Dave Stabback
lighting supervisor & relights Andy Gannon
sound engineer Will Moore
costume supervisor Sophie Ferguson
costume assistant placement Becky Hollis
supported artist Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir
set-build Pretty Scenic

for the Company:
artistic Director
 Matthew Lenton
executive producer Severine Wyper
projects manager Viviane Hullin
accountant and finance manager Brian Daly
marketing manager Niall Walker
PR manager Lesley Booth (New Century PR)

production Vanishing Point, Tron Theatre, Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione


a production of The Metamorphosis • Production Emilia Romagna Teatro
main partner