What a breath-taking descent into the realms of the conscious and sub-conscious, of alienation within love, and of the collapse of reason.
In a staging as stark and uncompromising as the plot, and with a visceral nod to an unreal reality, the Sixth Form worked its magical spell (more Voldemort than Weasley) upon an absolutely enthralled audience.
Flora Douglas’s Gregor Samsa was extraordinary: not just for the physicality of her performance, but for its forlorn sense of the inevitability of Gregor’s condition. No walls on stage – but the imaginary walls between Gregor and his family ever more firmly built as they scuttled away from him so much more than he ever scuttled from them. His distress and our anguish on his behalf… but would we have done otherwise, if we had been father, mother, sister? Even Greta. Even Greta, so long the bastion of love, defeated. And even a mother’s love unable to compete with the physical repulsion; not forgetting a father simply unable to cope at all – with the clerk, with lodgers, with his own family (thank goodness for a moment of light relief).
Terrible; mesmerising; punishing. The message for me? Do all you can to avoid alienation: metaphorical, metamorphic or otherwise. It’s not a bad message for the world today.
Many congratulations once again to the drama department, to Sixth Formers, who must have been exhausted by both the physical and mental demands of such a show, and to the directors and stage crew for the vision and the ambition to bring off so spectacularly well this most demanding of plays.