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Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

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

Gone to the dogs: The Border @TCLive

You know things have really gone to the dogs when four-legged friends are being rounded up and used as collateral. The dogs are used by migrants to pay to escape to a better life in East Oolia. Such is the slightly absurd but strangely familiar tale called The Border by Afsaneh Gray. It’s just finished playing at the Peckham Theatre but continues touring other sites and schools.

It opens with a young girl from the fictitious town of East Oolia called Julia. She’s just lost her dog as a border wall went up to divide East and West Oolia, and he ended up on the wrong side of the fence. The mayor did it to deliver on an election promise and to stop those West Oolians taking jobs from the East Oolians (or something like that). As Julia embarks on a quest to find her dog, she stumbles into a divided country. Her own family is divided, and immigration and crime (in the form of dog theft), is spiralling out of control.

Things get really interesting towards the end when the actors break the fourth wall and ask the audience about where they get their political views. Naturally being in the comfort and surroundings of the inner London the bubble, you can imagine what people would say about today’s politics. But the discussion quickly came to a consensus about the need to better understand different points of view and finding a middle ground. If only BBC Question Time could find such thoughtful audiences.

As an allegory for current day politics where hashtags and shouts of traitor replace thoughtful debate, it’s funny and engaging. As the dogs from the show say, all they’re after is “a patch a grass to piss on.” Maybe that’s a philosophy we could all try and live with instead of trying to keep pissing on each other.

Directed by Natalie Wilson, The Border continues touring schools and venues across the UK. Check their website for details.


Photos by Jack Barnes

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