Kafka`s Monkey – A Report to an Academy

Summary

In Kafka’s Monkey – A Report To An Academy, former ape, Red Peter, presents a report to a conference in the Scientific Academy about his experience being captured and caged on a ship traveling through the jungles of West Africa to Europe. To escape captivity, he observes the habits of the crew and begins to adapt their behavior. He does this with great ease, encountering difficulty only when learning to drink alcohol. Although Red Peter does not desire to become human, he must in order to obtain freedom.  He repeatedly states, “There was no attraction for me in imitating human beings; I imitated them because I needed a way out, and for no other reason.” Upon arriving in Europe, he is presented with a choice between living in the Zoo or the Music Hall. Desiring the opportunity to live in the Music Hall, Red Peter fully acclimates himself to human behavior in order to perform on the vaudeville stage. After his transformation is complete, he can no longer remember his previous life as an ape. In this adaptation of The Monkey, Red Peter creates a videotape to send to the Academy.  Through the medium of video, various texts are presented to the audience, highlighting Kafka´s virtuoso prose.

HP Trauschke has been acting, designing sets, and directing Kafka’s Monkey at EXit production for the past 15 years. In 1984, he designed the set for the production, under Master Gunnar Peterson, which won Kafka’s Monkey the award for the best play of the year in Munch. In 2008 the actress Miriam Goldschmidt, commonly featured in Peter Brook productions, directed Kafka’s Monkey with HP Trauschke as Red Peter

Review – LA weekly

KAFKA’S MONKEY — A REPORT TO AN ACADEMY … Red Peter (HP Trauschke in a tour de force performance), recounts the five-year odyssey from his kidnapping in the jungles of Africa to his fame in the music halls of Europe. Aided by English supertitles (in a translation seasoned with heretofore missing, Kafka-esque flavors by Bruce Anderson), and a large video screen, projecting and sometimes abstracting extreme close-ups of the onstage action, HP Trauschke (who is also credited with production design) articulates Red Peter’s determination to escape the fate of life behind the bars of a German zoo by at first aping the loutish behavior of his captors, and later augmenting that with the education and elocution of “the average European.” But by restoring the original, guttural poetry and syntactical music of Kafka’s mother tongue — even as he parses the subtexts with languidly pregnant pauses, mercurial shifts from simian rage and wistful regret to shocked comprehension — Trauschke the actor also eloquently underscores Kafka’s supreme irony: By taking on the attributes of human civilization, Red Peter has merely traded one kind of cage for another. Zoo District at the Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City; coming back in december. (323) 464-3375, exit-production.com. (Bill Raden)

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