Nov 302011
Authors: Lianna Salva

People in sophisticated clothing appear ghost-like as they enter the stage until they transform into apes. Thus begins the surreal world of the CSU Theater’s production of “The Kafka Project,” directed by Walt Jones and company.

The play is a compilation of short stories by Franz Kafka. In one section, one of the actresses gives birth to the rest of the cast who then transform into a community of mice. In another, an oddity called “The Hunger Artist” describes his life as a starving man used for the entertainment of others.

“I’ve loved that we’ve created this weird world,” said junior theater major Willa Bograd. “We get to play a lot of different roles in one piece, and it’s a lot more surreal and artistic.”

Bograd plays, among other characters, the singing drama queen Josephine in “The Mouse Folk”.

The process for “The Kafka Project” began without a script, but a lot of creativity. The actors used improvisational techniques in the first few weeks of rehearsal to make their characters their own as well as incorporating their own ideas to the show as a whole, according to Bograd.

“The actors feel like they have a collective ownership of this piece, and they do get credit in the program,” said Jones.

Jones and the cast described the sense of trust and community they feel on and off the stage.

“I find actors to be pretty game when they’re given a challenge. That’s what I love about actors,” said Jones. “The bigger the challenge the more it piques their appetite.”

Michael Toland, a junior theater major, along with Kat Springer, a senior theater major, plays Gregor Samsa, who awakens one morning to discover he has turned into a giant insect.

Toland, Springer and many of the other actors use the odd surroundings on stage to their advantage by climbing, jumping and swinging around the theater without the use of harnesses or wires.

“Hanging upside down hurts a lot, but it’s worth it because it looks cool. As long as it looks cool and adds to the play, I’ll do anything,” Toland said.

In February of 2012, CSU will host The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. “The Kafka Project” will be shown as a part of the festival.

Staff writer Lianna Salva can be reached at

What: CSU Theater presents “The Kafka Project”

When: Dec. 1 – 4, 8 – 10, Jan. 31 – Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m.

Where: University Center for the Arts, University Theater

Cost: $8 for students, $18 for the public

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