Infinithéâtre to Present KAFKA'S APE at Gladstone Hotel, 8/7-17
Montreal's Infinithéâtre presents the Toronto premiere of its critically acclaimed Kafka's Ape as part of the Mainstage Series at the SummerWorks Performance Festival and runs August 7-17 at the Gladstone Hotel, a site-specific venue of SummerWorks.
"Howard Rosenstein knocks it out of the park in the title role. Bravo!" - Pat Donnelly of Montreal Gazette
Based on Franz Kafka's short story A Report to an Academy (1917), and adapted by director Guy Sprung from the original German, Kafka's Ape upends the notion of civilization and what it means to be human in a world of routinized inhumanity. An unnerving satire on "otherness" and the compounding growth of private military companies, Kafka's Ape stars Howard Rosenstein as keynote speaker - and primate - Mr. Redpeter in a theatrical tour-de-force performance. Alexandra Montagnese enthrallingly plays the silent role of Mrs. Redpeter.
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is widely celebrated as one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Written during the darkest hours of the Great War (whose centenary is being marked across the globe this summer), Kafka's A Report to an Academy (Ein Bericht für eine Academie) is a tale of a captured simian turned into a celebrated variety show act. In Sprung's scathing adaptation, Redpeter ends up as a distinguished member of the "private security industry," one of the biggest growth industries of the 21st century. In place of the "report to an academy" of early 20th century scientists, Sprung presents "a keynote address" to the shareholders of a fictitious private military corporation, Graywater.
After his capture in the African jungle, the ape Redpeter realizes his only escape route is to become a walking, talking, spitting, hard-drinking member of the "Peace Industry," the entrepreneurial world of mercenary soldiers. In his keynote address to Graywater's annual general meeting detailing the journey of his enforced evolution from Apehood to Humanhood, Mr. Redpeter embodies the irony that he is perhaps now more animalistic and less human than he ever was as a "lower" primate.
"I deliberately don't use the word 'freedom'. 'Freedom' is a powerfully seductive word which your so-called civilized world uses very cleverly, very effectively, to entrap and occupy whole continents." - Redpeter
Kafka's central thesis in his satire on forced assimilation - that other animals have a dignity and a respect for Mother Nature and their own species that Homo sapiens have lost - has been nudged into the 21st century. "When Kafka first wrote this short story, millions of human beings were coerced into an orgy of killing each other, proving Homo sapiens to be vastly superior to gorillas and chimpanzees when it came to mass murder and genocide. Ironically, one of the largest of the private military corporations doing business with the American government today is called Academi, formerly known as Blackwater. In a sense, it still is a report to an Academy. Was Kafka able to see into the future?" queries Sprung.
Movement coaches Anana Rydvald and Zach Fraser (also Assistant Director) helped the actors find the "ape" in themselves. Sound Design and Video is by Nikita U, Creature Makeup Design by Vladamir Cara. An excerpt from the play can be found here: http://www.infinitheatre.com/kafkas-ape.html
Founded in 1988 as Theatre 1774, Infinithéâtre's mission is to develop, produce and broker new Québec theatre that is as entertaining as it is relevant, beginning with the belief that live theatre is an essential part of society's democratic discourse and that great theatre speaks to and about its own community. Artistic Director Guy Sprung is a Montreal director, writer and actor who has been practicing his craft for over 40 years. Mr. Sprung was the co-founder of Toronto's Canadian Stage, a dream he and the late Bill Glassco, who was running CentreStage at the time, together made a reality. As Artistic Director of the other of Canadian Stage's precursors, Toronto Free Theatre, one of Sprung's legacies was the conception and founding of The Dream In High Park, Toronto's annual pay-what-you-can outdoor Shakespearean festival. Rebranded for its 30th anniversary in 2012 as Shakespeare in High Park, this tremendously popular event continues to thrive.