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Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

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In offering proof that Kafka is everything to everyone - writer-performer Jack Klaff plays various roles, including the man himself in what is a part tour, part immersion and part legend of Franz Kafka. He is a writer who achieved fame after his life was cut short due to succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of forty. He is probably better known for his reputation and the Kafkaesque style attributed to his writing than his life. But after this piece, you’re left curious to learn more about the man and his works. And that has to be the best theatrical tribute you could give a writer, even for a writer who stipulated that his works be destroyed upon his death. It’s currently playing at the Finborough Theatre . Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. In 1901, he was admitted to a university and began studying law. While studying, he met Max Brod, who would become his best friend and eventual literary executor. Brod would posthumously publish many of his works and writings. Kafka’s life co

Opera: Aida and For You

The weekend before last turned out to be a bit of an opera fest. I went with Patrick on Saturday night to see Aida at the ENO as he liked a bit of grand spectacle on a Saturday night. That Saturday was so cold and wet I had not dared venture out all day so going to see this rather brightly coloured production of the show certainly felt like a sensible antidote to such a grey day... This production was first staged last year and while the directorial choices are not to everyone's taste I thought it was interesting enough... It runs until later this month... I am trying to get Patrick to write an opera blog as he has far more witty lines about Opera productions than I do as I suspect he has seen every opera staged in London over the last twenty or so years... He has only just got an MP3 player though so the blogging concept might be a bit too new media for him right now but we can only hope as opera writing needs some laughs...

Anyway not content with just Aida on Saturday, on Sunday I found myself at the Lindbury Studio at the Royal Opera House watching the new opera For You by Michael Berkeley and Ian McEwan with some boys from the chorus. Patrick warned me the night before that the opera was a bit like an episode of Midsomer Murders without the trashy ITV commercials... And with a mostly difficult score by Berkeley...

Still, anyone that can get high notes from "general anaesthetic!" in the libretto certainly can do a few tricks... And the scene of the big soprano humping the lead and then putting on her knickers in full view of the stalls (we were in the circle) certainly left an impression on me... The other guys with me had trouble staying awake watching this show as they didn't care for the characters, the plot, the libretto or the music. But on the whole I didn't mind it. If only the surtitles could be seen from the upper level... Next time I will bring my opera glasses...

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