I had a very nice evening with Franziska. We went to a place called Karma for dinner and then mosied our way across the street to the City Theater where we took in a Franz Kafka piece called “The Trial”, a existentialist tragedy in realist absurdism. Originally a book, it is about a 30-year old guy finding himself arrested but he doesn’t know why. He goes and meets various people in this building wherever he is and thinks it’s all part of this great injustice in his life. Yet they let him out to work at his job. Exactly a year after having been arrested, when he is 31, he might be arrested again and he kills himself.
The stagecraft definitely enhanced the performance which for me was often difficult to follow in German because of the purposely confusing speech by increasingly wacky characters, people half their heads shaved and a long green ponytail on the other side, and 10 people on the stage at one time dressed in white tights. In the beginning the stage was at an angle tilting towards the audience. It gave a sense of distortion and was unnerving as a beginning. Later, when the tilt was slowly, mechanically corrected, on the rest of the stage behind it is in a few inches of water with a steady light shower of water on the stage in one long line. They could put characters in the back of the water and when not lit, they were most definitely secondary and yet part of the rhythm of the piece.
The theater was full of teenagers from nearby towns who apparently all at 16 have to read the book, like in America we had to read “The Red Badge of Courage” or “A Separate Peace” or “Grapes of Wrath”, ya know?
We had good seats, in the 5th row in the middle but the acoustics weren’t so good and were uneven and with the discordant speaking made for a play that came out you in waves and pulses but not always as they’d intended.