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The Metamorphosis

After the novella by Franz Kafka

“Every family has its secrets.” Gísli Örn Garðarsson

“When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect.” This is the first sentence of Franz Kafka’s disturbing story, which is one of the best-known nightmares in world literature. Gregor Samsa initially hopes that his state of metamorphosis is a temporary one, and concentrates on attempting to get up and start his day, despite his monstrous body. However, he soon realises that he can only move clumsily, and his strange appearance causes his mother to faint. Gregor Samsa, until now a travelling salesman and the able provider of the indebted family, suddenly becomes a useless burden on the petit bourgeois household – now under threat of social decline due to his metamorphosis.

Gísli Örn Garðarsson is a director, stage and screen actor, author – and former competitive gymnast. He is a co-founder of the Icelandic theatre collective “Vesturport,” which was formed in 2001 by a group of school friends in Reykjavik. Their international breakthrough came with a circus-inspired version of “Romeo and Juliet,” in which the set consisted of a trapeze and a tightrope, and Romeo swung onto the stage on a bungee rope. The group’s artistic, forthright approach to the literary classics continued with Büchner’s “Woyzeck” and Goethe’s “Faust,” whose set consisted principally of a trampoline. In 2011, the troupe was awarded the Europe Prize for New Theatrical Realities in St. Petersburg. Most recently, Garðarsson staged “The Heart of Robin Hood” at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis contributed the soundtrack for “Metamorphosis,” a stage adaptation of Kafka’s novella. The production was première at London’s Lyric Hammersmith and has since been performed at theatre festivals all over the world. In Zurich, Gísli Örn Garðarsson has developed a new version of the piece with members of the Schauspielhaus ensemble.


With Claudius Körber, Matthias Neukirch, Isabelle Menke, Dagna Litzenberger Vinet, Fritz Fenne
Gísli Örn Garðarsson
Set Designer
Börkur Jónsson
Costume Designer
Lili Wanner
Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
Assistant Director
Selma Björnsdóttir, Marco Milling
Light Design
Björn Helgasson
Literary Manager
Andreas Karlaganis, Irina Müller
Assistant Costume Designer
Marcus Karkhof, Liv Senn
Gerlinde Uhlig-Vanet
Stage Manager
Dagmar Renfer
Theatre Education
Anne Britting, Corina Liechti
Internship Direction
Marija Morozova
Lighting Designer
Michel Güntert

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