By Francisco Portillo
The Theater Department’s first play of the semester is “The Metamorphosis,” by E. Thomalen based on a novel by Franz Kafka.
The play is about a hard-working man named Gregor Samsa who supports his family, played by Christopher Magallanes.
He wakes up one day mysteriously transformed into a dung beetle. His family tries to get rid of the hideous insect, unaware of the transformation that has taken place.
The play focuses on the character of Samsa as he deals with the sudden repercussions of being different and how it affects his life personally as well as professionally. “What this play deals with is the theme of: ‘how do we deal with people who are different from us?’ It brings up the issues of people that are just different, whether it be race, religion or disabilities, and how we can sometimes be cruel to them,” show director Vanessa Mizzone Pellegrini said.
With the lead character being turned into a dung beetle, the audience can expect to see some crazy costume design, which Pellegrini would not give any details on. The costumes are designed by student Roberto Andrade.
“I want people to come see it so I won’t spoil the surprise, but there is some theater magic that happens,” said Pellegrini. Pellegrini said the play is very physical.
The auditions for the lead involved a lot of movement from actors. “I was pleasantly surprised at how many options I had for the lead actor. I felt like the students really went out of their comfort zone when they auditioned because of all the movement,” Pellegrini said.
The student who plays Samsa is extremely gifted physically and is in his body. “He came to the auditions and did something where I was like ‘wow, I hadn’t even thought about that.’ It was really exciting,” Pellegrini said. The original short story which it’s based on was written by Kafka. Pellegrini compares the work to Kafka’s real life experiences.
As an artist at heart, Kafka expressed his art, yet was never acknowledged by his parents. At one point, he was forced by his parents to get a real job to make money.
“In a way, Kafka is the lead character of this play because his family doesn’t see him for what he is as he’s forced to support the family. (The lead) Gregor is forced to live this life and I felt like a lot of us could relate to that,” Pellegrini said.
Pellegrini believes that people follow the wishes of others, but not necessarily their own. “Students who want to find a career in the arts: do their parents support that or do they always feel like they’re being pushed into a more secure job,” Pellegrini said.
The location of the play will be at the P2-101 Upstairs Theatre which is smaller than the other theater stages. Primarily used for acting, movement and voicing classes, the theater space is also undergoing a transformation for the performance.
Since the room is so small, there is no backstage and the actors will be on-stage at all times. “We’ve created this kind of cocoon in there with drapery, which is kind of cool,” Pellegrini said, teasing the stage setup.
The play is about 80 minutes long without intermission and runs from March 17 to the 26 with showtimes at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m.
The tickets can be purchased on elac.edu under the Events tab, or in P2-101A. Prices are $8 for ASU members, $10 for pre sale tickets and $12 for tickets at the door. Presale ends on the 17.