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Franz Kafka (1883–1924) is a writer, whose works were mostly
published after his death (and against his will) and have
disturbed and frightened the world for nearly a century. A
genius, a prophet, the master of literary horror and absurd, one
of the most influential authors of all time. His life and
creativity, his time, the romances that didn’t happen, strange
encounters, all the delusions and revelations of a modest
insurance clerk are brought to the Gogol center stage to create a
The production by Kirill Serebrennikov, based on biographical
play by Valery Pecheikin, is a large-scale phantasmagoric canvas,
a physically tangible voyage to the planet of Kafka. It
contains Kafka’s horror, his peculiar humor, and the bizarre
Franz Kafka was humble and avoidant clerk, literature was his secret passion. By his own admission he considered Flober, Dostoevsky, and Gogol as his “blood brothers”, however, he bequeathed his manuscripts to be burned after his death. Against writer’s will his friends published his works, which were filled with peculiar visions and paradoxical plot lines, postmortem. These publications brought Kafka worldwide fame. Nowadays, he is perceived as ingenious prophet of XX th century’s insanity, while writer’s name has become a synonym of a specific type of absurd.
Kafka’s life was filled with overwhelming desire of art, his texts contain vast energy. For authors of the play it did matter to show writer’s personality to the full extent of its real sophistication.
The production by Kirill Serebrennikov, based on the play by Valery Pecheikin, is a combination of biographical facts from life of the writer and plot lines created by his imagination. Kafka’s bestiary characters live among real people. According to the idea of playwright Valery Pecheikin on stage there are characters from Kafka’s “internal biography”: starting from the flying dogs and Gregor Samsa, reaching up to peculiar Odradek and people, who came in dreams.
Three facts from Kafka’s life:
1 Max Brod
Kafka hired him as an executor, who had to destroy all of the unpublished works such as “The Trial” and “The Castle” which was not finished. Nevertheless, Max have broken the will of his friend. That is how the worldwide glory started.
2 Family was a place of constant conflicts for Franz, especially with his father. Kafka had even sent him his famous letter, which now is published as stand-alone work.
3 Maybe conflicts and confrontations in his family prevented Kafka from creating his own one.
There is a correspondence with Felice Bauer, bride of Franz, who actually did not become his wife.
Valery Pecheikin, playwright:
“The most complicated it was to find and reproduce the absurd which I not to be confused with nonsense. Kafka’s absurd has its own internal logic and one of my goals was to find this logic. It seems as even today we live in the world where the absurd is still a standard measure of everything. Remains only to repeat writer’s words: “I would like to lead the word to purity, truth, perpetuity.”
The premiere occurred on 29 June 2016.