Prior to seasons in Sydney and Perth, this major new production premieres on Melbourne’s own Merlyn stage.
Josef K (Ewen Leslie) is not having a good day. On the morning of his thirtieth birthday he awakes to find himself under arrest. For what, he cannot tell. By whom, he’s unsure. He is in trouble with a capital T. He’s been accused of something and no one will tell him exactly what.
Despite his adamant protestations of innocence, K finds himself swept up on an inexorable tide of bureaucracy, dragged adrift by strange forces that are invisible, threatening and unstoppable. He knows that the law court is intent on punishing guilt but just what ‘guilt’ is, is growing ever more ambiguous.
He’s allowed to go about his daily business but soon finds the entire world in which he travels has been infected with this bizarre implication of guilt, and the more he struggles the more he becomes wound up in ludicrous scenarios. An amorous neighbour, a porn-peddling washer-woman and a court-room with all the order of a barnyard seem to tempt him to madness, but throughout it all K maintains the stoic front of a man for whom it will all make sense in the end. The joke, of course, is on him.
A confident, obsessive and hardworking bank clerk, when K becomes embroiled in this surreal, utterly frustrating and inescapable court trial, he begins to transform into an entirely different person. The memories of airless, claustrophobic rooms haunt him wherever he goes and court officials appear from the darkest corners of the most unexpected places. Slowly, gradually, his composed demeanour is eroded and – as the world around him becomes increasingly nightmare-like – reality slips from his grasp.
An absurdist provocation on the bleakness of life in a modern world, this sartorial take of one of the classics of 20 century literature invites us into the heady maze of intrigue and desire.
" As an artist who willfully cultivated his own marginality, Franz Kafka became a symbol, to many, of the millions of people reeling from the political and cultural dislocations of the 20th Century. And as an avant-garde artist who transformed the mysteries of his won identity…He came to be regarded as both an exemplary modernist and a social prophet." – New York Times.
This major national production reunites Matthew Lutton and Louise Fox – talents last seen together on Malthouse Theatre stages with 2008’s sensational production of Tartuffe – and matches them with a stellar cast including John Gaden (Season at Sarsaparilla), Belinda McClory (The Odyssey) and Peter Houghton (The Pitch). Sensual, comedic and disarming, The Trial delights in Kafka’s obsession with the erotic and the hijinks of clowning, all the while staring down a daunting authority.
"With Lutton named Young Western Australian of the Year for Arts in 2005, it wasn’t long before East Coast Theatre companies took note. In 2008 he took over the direction of Michael Kantor’s production of Tartuffe for Melbourne’s Malthouse when Kantor fell ill. This further cemented his growing reputation." – The Australian
MELBOURNE SEASON INFO
VENUE: MERLYN THEATRE, THE CUB MALTHOUSE, 113 STURT STREET SOUTHBANK VIC AUSTRALIA 3006
OPENING NIGHT: WEDNESDAY AUGUST 18 AT 7.30PM
SEASON: 13 AUGUST – 4 SEPTEMBER. TUESDAYS AT 6.30PM, WEDNESDAYS TO SATURDAYS AT 7.30PM, SUNDAYS AT 5PM. MATINEES: THURSDAY 26 AUGUST AT 1PM, SATURDAY 4 SEPTEMBER AT 2PM.
BOOKING INFO: WWW.MALTHOUSETHEATRE.COM.AU / 03 9685 5111
TICKET PRICES: $23 – $49 + MIN BOOKING FEE $1.50
SYDNEY SEASON INFO SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY, THE WHARF THEATRE, SEPTEMBER 14 – OCTOBER 16
PERTH SEASON INFO THINICE, SUBIACO ARTS CENTRE, OCTOBER 23 – OCTOBER 30