METAMORPHOSIS

Franz Kafka / DekkaDancers

J. K. TYL THEATRE

Štěpán Benyovszký, Štěpán Pechar, Ondřej Vinklát

METAMORPHOSIS A ballet metamorphosis of Kafka's Metamorphosis.
Gregor’s terrifying metamorphosis wrecks relationships both in his family and around it, and only the death of the affected individual can renew them. Kafka's short story Metamorphosis from 1915 understandably provoked and continues to provoke various explanations, from symbolism to sci-fi vision, criticism of hypocritical morality, hyperbolic exaggeration to anecdotic game. A distinctive interpretation of Metamorphosis is brought to the Small Stage of the DJKT by Dekkadancers, an ensemble from the youngest generation of choreographers known for its distinctive humour verging on parody, and familiar to Pilsen audiences for productions such as Kill de Bill. Most of the group's members come from the National Theatre's ballet company, and with their modern form of film video art the group won first prize in this genre for Janáček's Sinfonieta.

The deepest secret of this story is not its autobiographical subtext, but its smoothly polished surface, underneath which there lurks something terrifying. This evident contrast is captured in certain sequences when Jiří Lábus reads from Kafka's text, and the timbre of his voice and declamation heighten the absurdity of the situation.
What takes place on stage is what the actor says: “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a giant insect.” Richard Ševčík tosses nervously on a large black bed; suddenly he has a quantity of legs which continually wriggle in the strangest way, and which he is unable to control. Exactly as in the book, when Gregor violates the absolutely binding responsibility of order, which this responsibility itself creates…

The alienated “ego" takes on itself the complicated metaphorical form of a repulsive creature. Samsa loses himself – at this point fingers in black gloves tap on the bed, and after a moment five black figures crawl out from under it, with black hoods over their faces. They lean on Gregor and grow on to him. The hero cannot believe his new and incredible form – the bodies of the dancers are joined together in a single organism, with the five unidentified aliens “consuming" not only Gregor himself, but stealing into his mind as a futile effort at becoming human again. The bizarre creature scuttles around the stage, the choreography is inventive and effective, the scenes are both moving and horrifying, just like the story.
(…)
For Richard Ševčík, Gregor Samsa is the role of a lifetime into which he has matured with his natural character. He makes Samsa's anguish utterly convincing as he captures his inner struggle. The structure of the dance, in the spirit of contemporary dance taken and developed by the choreographers in their own style, also sits well with him.
Metamorphosis in Pilsen is worth more than just seeing!
– Lucie Dercsényiová, Taneční aktuality

DEKKADANCERS is an open project-based dance company founded in Prague in 2009. It was created by two choreographers and dancers with the National Theatre ballet in Prague – Viktor Konvalinka and Tomáš Rychetský, together with the photographer Pavel Hejný. Since 2015 the second generation of DEKKADANCERS has been led by Štěpán Pechar, Ondřej Vinklát and Marek Svobodník (likewise dancers and choreographers from the National Theatre ballet in Prague). The group arose as the logical conclusion of its creators' desire to realise their own projects. The participants are mostly dancers from the National Theatre ballet, but also various other figures from the field of dance and other areas. They work with theatres all around the Czech Republic, and this year they were also invited to work with the junior company of the Bavarian state ballet.

The J. K. TYL THEATRE consists of four companies which together show some 500 drama, opera, operetta, musical and ballet performances a year. The theatre tries to achieve a varied repertoire, balanced in genre, which includes new plays both Czech and foreign: last year the theatre showed 24 premieres. With its history of almost a hundred years, its artistic activity and a number of other activities, it is an important theatre not just on the West Bohemian level. The beginnings of the history of Pilsen ballet date back to the mid-1860s, making Pilsen’s theatre one of those with a long ballet tradition. Until 1945 the ensemble's activity was modest and the repertoire short, with the ballet often engaged to help out the operas and operettas. However, the Pilsen theatre was always one where distinguished figures in Czech professional dance grew up, later moving mostly to the National Theatre in Prague. From the 2003/2004 season the ballet has been headed by Jiří Pokorný, who aims to have a wide range of genres. In practice this means regular productions of world classics plus a search for pieces that bring new choreographical and directorial approaches.