THE METAMORPHOSIS. Based on the work of Franz Kafka

  • Director

    Oliver FRLJIĆ

  • Duration

    1 h 30 min (one act)

  • Stage

    New Stage

  • Premiere date

    31st May, 2023

  • N-18, smoke is being used in the show


You can kill a man, but you can't force him to be someone else. (Robert Antelme)


How, when, and why do we stop seeing the Other as human? At the very heart of Franz Kafka's work, one can always grasp the different forms of dehumanization being explored. The story of Gregor Zamza, the insect-turned-man, raises the question of the limits of our compassion for the other: how the process of identification is carried out, how the Other is constructed, and whether we can accept the Other as a part of humanity. This performance will seek to explore the complex dialectical relationship between two different political (in the broadest sense) mechanisms: empathic identification on the one hand, and dehumanization on the other.

The field of meanings in Kafka's works is infinitely wide, and not amenable to simple, unambiguous interpretations. In striving to open up their different levels, the most important thing in the performance is, however, to engage in a dialogue with the reality in which we live.

On 28 July 1914, the First World War broke out, and just a few days later, Kafka began to write what is perhaps his most famous novel, "The Trial" (which remained unfinished and was only published without the writer's permission only after his death). And although the two events are not linked by mutual causality, the experience of war is evident in this and other works by the writer. Scholars of Kafka's oeuvre argue that in "The Trial" he foresaw the totalitarian ideologies that were soon to engulf Europe, as well as the nature of that war. On 24 February, when Russia went to war against Ukraine, it was said that this war would initiate the next phase of European history, ushering in a new world order. So, it may well be that we, Europeans in the 2020s – like Kafka, who became a contemporary of the First World War – will live through a watershed epoch that will usher in a new world order.


Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924) was a prominent Austrian author who wrote in German. He is considered one of the most distinctive and influential writers of the 20th century, a pioneer of modernism, and also acknowledged as one of the forerunners of the Surrealists. Born into a Jewish family, he studied chemistry and German studies, later choosing to study law, much to the delight of his overbearing father, who considered his literary ambitions to be a futile pursuit. He worked almost all his life for the Prague workers' insurance company, immersing himself in the world of literature during his time free from the bureaucratic work he hated. He was constantly conflicted between his social life and his creative vocation and suffered greatly for it. He was very strict about his work, and many of his writings were published without his consent only after his death.

Being hermetic and multidimensional, Kafka's prose is open to a wide range of interpretations, often the most contradictory. His writings reveal a strange, inexplicable, threatening, and fearful world in its instability, loneliness, fatigue, and fear of the future.


Oliver Frljić (b. 1976) is one of Europe's most prominent theatre makers, directors, actors, and text authors, often described by critics as a "theatre provocateur". He usually raises difficult and socially unfavorable issues on stage, speaks sharply on social issues, and in his work, he often responds to the current problems and situations of the day. A number of his performances have had a significant public impact, such as his performance about anti-Semitism in Poland, which was canceled at the National Old Theatre in Krakow in 2013, or his play "The Curse", which was staged at the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw in 2017: that was a notable and scandalous event in our neighboring Poland. The director has been invited to work on various stages and is also in residence at the Gorki Theatre in Berlin.


  • Director, author of the adaptation — Oliver FRLJIĆ
  • Set and Video Designer — Igor PAUŠKA
  • Costume designer — Morta NAKAITĖ
  • Light Designer — Dainius URBONIS
  • Director's Assistant — Augustas GORNATKEVIČIUS
  • Dramaturgy Assistant, Translator — Eglė POŠKEVIČIŪTĖ
  • Producer — Agnė PULOKAITĖ



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