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“The Metamorphosis” captures themes of alienation, isolation


Home is where we eat, sleep and live. But, what if we wake up one day discovering that we could no longer do these things? This is the experience of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who turned into a bug after a seemingly normal day in Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.”

St. Olaf student, Aaron Lauby ’19, captured Gregor’s horrifying experience in his recreation of the story through a performance held in Haugen Theater from March  8 – 10. The audience got a closer look at how it feels to be an outsider in one’s own home.

The stage was divided into two rooms by a door frame. One side was Gregor’s bedroom, where he spent most of his time after his sudden transformation. The other room was designated as the living and dining room, where Gregor’s family spent most of their time chatting, eating, doing their daily chores and consulting one another about the family’s financial difficulty.

“In this story of human identity and family relationships, the audience will be prompted to consider one’s own self and ideology.” Mai Xee Vang ’20

If you read the story beforehand, you would likely be curious as to how Gregor’s new body would be depicted. The audience was shocked when Ayee Mounivong ’22 came out from under the blanket in which Jeffrey Nolan ’20, depicting the human Gregor, had covered himself with before the lights switched off. Mounivong’s depiction of the bug was phenomenal. Her movements were like that of a real insect, moving with its whole body.

The accompanist, Luke “Dima” Hering ’21, played Indie-pop music throughout most of the scenes to depict Gregor’s emotions, adding a hopeful feeling as he started to get comfortable in his new body.

Intense instrumental music was used during the more serious scenes. The climax began when Gregor’s mother, depicted by Sophie Rossiter ’19, went into Gregor’s room and screamed when she saw the bug instead of her son.

Rossiter’s portrayal of a mother in conflict about loving her son, despite his new identity was well done. Grete, Gregor’s sister, developed a more contemptous view of her brother. Kendal Otness ’22 realistically portrayed Grete’s development.

Upon hearing the scream, Gregor’s father, played by Logan Luiz ’20, rushed in and began hitting Gregor with a cane. As the head of the household, the father was serious and only cared about what would benefit him and the family. This explained why he hurt Gregor, the family’s breadwinner. Luiz portrayed this cold character with his realistic accuracy.

The whole scene was like a stop- motion film, with the light turning on and off so the audience could feel the terror the family had for Gregor’s new body. More than anything, Mounivong did an excellent job portraying Gregor’s horror as he was beaten by his own father.

The breakthrough point was when Amelia Hillery ’22, who portrayed the maid, struck the audience with her thoughtful monologue about the family’s selfishness and their cruel treatment to Gregor. It was a monologue that truly captured the themes of alienation and isolation, which were what killed Gregor in the end.

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