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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

Random doubts and gaslighting: Late Night Staring at High Res Pixels

Sending a semi-naked photo to a boyfriend sets off a chain reaction of events between two women in Athena Steven's Late Night Staring at High Res Pixels. Is it a case of overthinking everything or is some power game at play?

Writer Athena Steven's has repurposed her play into a streamed online event split into mini-episodes released every night over February. Now that we're in March, you don't have to deal with the suspense of waiting for the next instalment, and you can binge it all in one sitting online. It feels like a part drama, part theatre at home and part paranoia.

The story unfolds through monologues from the two women. They don't have names other than the girlfriend (Evelyn Lockley) and the best friend (Stevens). What brings them together is a man who turns out to be bringing out their darker side. They begin to question everything, and what slowly emerges is a tale of power and control. 

It's imaginatively captured on stream on the YouTube platform. However, you need to allow for YouTube's endless clutter and random advertisements.  Each episode runs for under ten minutes and builds on each of the character's doubts and fears.  

Filming with iPads and everyday objects found about the home highlights the naturalness of the situation. And placing the two characters alone at home, filmed at unusual angles and moody music underscoring the dialogue heightens the tension. Watching it during the lockdown, where there is more isolation than ever, makes the self-doubt and internal monologues seem more believable.

The pacing might not be for everyone's taste, but the performances, ideas and resourcefulness are to be admired. 

As part of the Finborough For Free programme, the theatre's releasing a new work every month of closure for free. You can support the theatre by becoming a friend or making a donation from their website. 

Directed by Lily Mcleish, Late Night Staring At High Res Pixels is available online until the end of March.

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