Kafka’s Monkey is an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story A Report To The Academy, in which a man tells of his transition from ape to human.
Imprisoned in a cage and desperate to escape, the ape-man reveals his rise through the ranks of the beasts to become a walking, talking, spitting, smoking, hard-drinking man of the stage. Witty, absurd and painful, Colin Teevan’s adaptation of Kafka’s tale places a mirror in front of a modern day audience and reveals a world in which humans appear ape-like and apes humane. It also provides an insight into the anguish of attempting to belong but always being kept outside.
With live music and physical performance, Kafka’s Monkey draws on the rich associations of the variety stage and incorporates elements of Berlin cabaret, street dance and stand up comedy.
Playing the ape-man is Kathryn Hunter, who previously appeared at the Young Vic in Fragments. Her other London stage credits include The Diver at the Soho, Yerma at the Arcola and The Vist at the National, for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award. Hunter is also a founding member of Complicite.
Born in Prague in 1883, Franz Kafka found little success with his work during his lifetime, and much of it was published after his death in 1924. His writing explores themes of alienation and the pain of adapting to a hostile environment. His most famous works include The Trial, The Castle and Metamorphosis.
For more about Kafka’s Monkey at the Young Vic, read the First Night Feature.