Kafka’s Monkey

As published in EDGE on April 4, 2013.

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Source:Keith Pattinson

A bent-over Kathryn Hunter, dressed in tails and a bowler hat and swinging her arms like an ape, enters the stage. After assessing her surroundings, she reaches a white podium. Gripping the front edges of the podium with the tips of her fingers, she addresses the audience as “Esteemed members of the academy.”

“Kafka’s Monkey,” based on “A Report to an Academy” by Franz Kafka, adapted by Colin Teevan, humorously presents a monkey, Red Peter, describing to a group of academics its transformation from a wild jungle creature to the civilized being before them. In between swigs from a silver flask, the monkey describes being shot from a tree, sea vessel transportation, and its first encounters with humans.

Since it has been five years since the monkey departed from the “Gold Coast,” it apologizes for not remembering its “prior” life. Instead it focuses on its education in how to be a successful man. Thus, the play focuses more on what it means to be human than what it means to be ape.

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Kafka's Monkey

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