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BWW Review: KAFKA'S SHORTS at Open Stage

A thought-provoking exploration.

BWW Review: KAFKA'S SHORTS at Open Stage

Through January 24th, journey into the bizarre imaginings of Franz Kafka with Open Stage's online production of Kafka's Shorts. Kafka's Shorts, adapted by David Karl Lee and directed by Chris Gibson, explores six of Kafka's short stories. Tied together by their aesthetic-minimalistic set, monochromatic color schemes, strategic use of light and shadow, and original artwork by Stephen Michael Haas-these stories delve into the dark, uncomfortable, and often absurd aspects of human life.

The stories feature performances by Benny Benamati, Christopher Ellis, Chris Gibson, Matthew Golden, Rachel Landon, Aiden Roth, Hanniel Sindelar, Nicholas Werner, and Stacey Werner. As with many of Kafka's stories, several of these shorts are told through narration by an unseen voice. It is vital that a narrator keep the audience's attention through their tone and cadence of speech. Each of the narrators in this production rises to the challenge beautifully. From the very first story, "Do Not Even Listen", as soon as Hanniel Sindelar takes the stage and Stacey Werner begins narrating, the performance captures the attention. In addition to the stellar performances, staging, and lighting, one of the most remarkable aspects of the show is the musical score by Nicholas Werner.

The performances are wonderfully nuanced, giving the audience space to develop their own interpretations and questions about each story. It's a show that could be difficult for some to watch right now, given all of the turmoil in the country and the isolation many are experiencing, but director Chris Gibson hopes that audiences will experience something transformative in Kafka's works. As he states, "I think theatre is therapeutic-and seeing and living in this dark and dreamy world for 90 minutes will help people leave 2020 behind. Hopefully to look forward to a year of new opportunities, healing, and growth."

Kafka's Shorts is a show that engages the mind, and those who thrive on the strange and thought-provoking may want to give this show multiple views. In the midst of the absurdities of life, mirrored in Kafka's storytelling, it is somehow freeing to remember the words of "The Next Village and the Trees" that we are "delicate, glorious, intricate. Alive one moment, and gone the next."

To experience this captivating show, visit for details.

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From This Author Andrea Stephenson