When Czech writer Franz Kakfa, author of "The Trial" and "The Metamorphoses," first attended Yiddish theatre in 1912, what he saw entralled him. He became a fan and befriended leading actor Itzhak Lowy, head of a traveling troupe. Playwright Ken Prestininzi (A Stronger Faith) and award-winning director Loren Rubin (The Master and Margarita) explore this side of Kafka in the new play AmeriKaKafa, playing Los Angeles' MET Theatre Oct. 11-Nov. 7.
A surreal and comic interpretation of history, AmeriKafka finds the writer at Death's door and hallucinating. Part Grouch Marx, part King Lear, Lowy serves as Virgil to Kafka's Dante as they explore in the afterlife in hopes of liberating the author's inner life. Through confronations with persons from the sword-carrying Statue of Liberty to his own younger self, Kakfa must discover his own individual truth, whether it's modern, alienated or absurd.
Silas Weir Mitchell stars as Kafka. Also in the cast are John Altieri, Beth Bergman, Jordana Berliner, Kristine Dickson, Dean Jacobson, Kara Keeley, Patricia Kunz, Jonathan Klein, Deanne Mencher, Skip Moore, David Razowsky, Andrea Ruth, Nicole Gabriella Scipione, Gary Viggers and Dawn Worrall.
Original songs in AmeriKafka, written in the Klezmer tradition, are by Brenda Varda with actress Bergman. Cecil Schmidt is the set designer.
Tickets are $20. The MET Theatre is located at 1089 North Oxford Avenue in Hollywood. For reservations, call (323) 957-1152. — By Christine Ehren