Iceland’s Six-Legged Kafka Nightmare “Metamorphosis” set for Arts Emerson’s World on Stage

Above is the Metamorphosis official trailer by Vesturport and Lyric Hammersmith from Vesturport on Vimeo.

Boston, MA: With music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Kafka’s terrifying but bizarrely comic story bursts onto the ArtsEmerson stage February 27-March 3, 2013 in a theatrically explosive new version of Metamorphosis.

Created by Artistic Director David Farr (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre) and actor/director Gisli Örn Gardarsson of Vesturport, the ordinary, unremarkable life of the Samsa family is turned upside down when their son, Gregor, the sole provider for the family, emerges one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a gigantic insect. His family’s feelings of revulsion turn to resentment with horrifying results.


There is much to recommend this play. The production’s stunning design keeps the insect permanently visible in a topsy-turvy upstairs room, contorting to the sounds of his family’s betrayal and swinging from the rafters, as in a veritable gymnasium. It combines breathtaking physicality and daring aerial action as the recently transformed Gregor lithely negotiates the gravity-defying split level set.

Then there are the Kafka-esque questions that arise. Is it a domestic tragedy or a metaphor for totalitarian brutality? Either way, Metamorphosis is a disturbing story – fantastic and horrific; surprisingly funny and very sad. It is about human nature, relationships between people, and reactions to extreme circumstances. The aerial physicality seems a match made in heaven for Kafka’s hellish creation. With evocative original music composed by world-renowned musician and lyricist Nick Cave and long-time collaborator Warren Ellis from The Bad Seeds, the music emphasizes Kafka’s dream-like vision and turns it into an electrifying reality.

The programming of this unique production by ArtsEmerson continues their World on Stage programming as Boston welcomes the Vesturport Theatre (Iceland) and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre (London).

Founded by 13 artists in 2001, Iceland-based Vesturport Theatre rose to international prominence when their Romeo & Juliet became a hit first at the Young Vic and later the West End in London. In April 2011, Vesturport was awarded the Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities XII in St. Petersburg where Faust and Metamorphosis were performed in connection with the award ceremony.

The Lyric Hammersmith is a theatre in London built in 1895, which takes pride in its original, “groundbreaking” productions. It has two main performance areas: the Main House, a 550-seat 19th-century auditorium maintaining the original design which hosts its main productions; and the 120-seat Studio, which houses smaller productions by up-and-coming companies.

The Feb. 27 – March 3 performances will take place at the Paramount Center Mainstage (559 Washington St. in Boston’s Theatre District). Tickets, from $25 –$75, are on sale now at or by phone at 617-824-8400.

One thought on “Iceland’s Six-Legged Kafka Nightmare “Metamorphosis” set for Arts Emerson’s World on Stage

  1. Pingback: Iceland’s Six-Legged Kafka Nightmare “Metamorphosis” set for Arts Emerson’s World on Stage | The_Length_of_an_Instant

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