Anyone familiar with Kafka’s work knows he’s renowned for his mystical transformations and uncanny style of externalizing the disorienting and complex thoughts that run through a character’s mind. After attending the play “Kakfa’s Ape” at Infini Theatre, I can whole heartedly declare that I was a spectator to the kafkaesque experience.
Written by Kafka and adapted by director Guy Sprung, “Kafka’s Ape” is a play that centralizes on a primate’s transformation into the homosapien world . Howard Rosenstein stars as Mr. Redpeter, an ape held captive and imprisoned on the gold coast whose only means of escape was to repress his primordial nature and become a conforming member of the peace industry aka “the entrepreneurial world of mercenary soldiers”.
In a Kafkaesque style, Rosenstein delves into an outward stream of consciousness and by doing so, explores themes of alienation, psychological disillusionment and confinement that surrounds his conflicting identity. Through frequent bouts of lamentation and passionate outcries for freedom, Rosenstein does a stellar performance of depicting the struggles of a fellow primate trying to fit into the norms of a “human” (pronounced “ U- MAN”) society. His struggles are displayed through his conflicting nature of retaining some of his ape – like qualities while expressing some outward “humanistic” ones as well such as perfecting the art of smoking a cigar and engaging in alcoholic vices which he does impressively well. A stark contrast is displayed with his costar Alexandra Montagnese who stars as “Mrs Redpeter” his wife whose sporadic ape- like gestures adds an element of humour into the play.
The highlight of this character driven play was without a doubt Rosenstein’s performance. His body language and passionate recounting of his transition from an ape to a hard drinking member of a military society was poignant to watch . Although, the discourse was dense and detailed which made it occasionally hard to follow . For people who aren’t familiar with Kafka’s style, Rosenstein’s lengthy discourse can be pretty daunting and will feel like a one man show. Otherwise, if you’re up for being a spectator to the idiosyncrasies of an ape – human’s recounting of his transformation performed by the talented Rosenstein, then give “Kafka’s Ape” a try. The play runs all month from November 7th to the 24th at Infini Theatre (Bain St. Michel) near Laurier metro.