Today’s news:

Franz Kafka's letters to his father get a theatrical treatment in Greenwood Heights

The Brooklyn Paper

Fans of Oedipal anxiety and existential terror rejoice!

“Letter to My Father,” an hour-long solo show that resurrects Czech writer Franz Kafka, puts him behind a desk, and has him read an unsent message he wrote to his father while on his deathbed, opens May 10 at Magic Futurebox Theatre on 33rd Street between Second and Third avenues in Greenwood Heights.

“Basically it says, ‘You have emotionally abused me my entire life and because of that I am a shell of a human being, but it’s not you, it’s me. It’s my fault I’m so sensitive,’ ” said James Rutherford, the director. “Kafka’s father was like a god to him, and the piece by being so personal for Kafka is also so personal for anyone who hears it.”

Rutherford decided to bring the letter’s intensity closer to the audience by piping it directly into the their ears through headphones linked to a microphone on the desk where actor Michael Guagno — an old friend of Rutherford’s and a Park Slope resident, now making his Brooklyn debut — sits and speaks.

“Kafka talks ad nauseum about the barriers between his father and himself, so it adds to the piece to have this barrier between the audience and myself,” said Guagno, who will also use a laptop to cue atonal music and play sound bites whenever the author quotes his father’s words.

Rutherford said that he found Magic Futurebox — a 20,000 square foot warehouse — to be the ideal location to put on such a neurotic and cerebral piece.

“It’s an incredible space, really wild. I think of it as being like the inside of a human mind. And it’s a great challenge to create a sense of claustrophobia in such a huge place,” said Rutherford.

If all this sounds a little odd, and, well, a little uncomfortable, then Rutherford accomplished his goal.

“This isn’t the kind of play where the lights go down and the audience forgets they exist for a couple hours. It’s an overwhelming sensation and it’s impossible to not step back a little bit and consider your own relationship to your father,” the director said.

“Letter to My Father” at the Magic Futurebox Theatre [55 33rd Street between Second and Third Avenues, Greenwood Heights. (646) 470–6321] May 11, 7pm. Visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links