School of Theatre performs Kafka play with passion


CJ Lange (left) and Andrea Shaprio star in “The Castle,” an adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel. The show was performed Nov. 8, 9 and 10 and will continue the following weekend in the Corner Theater in the Stevens Building.

By Chris Plumery

DeKALB — The cast of “The Castle” did an outstanding job giving an amazing portrayal of both seriousness and comedic relief. 

Each character is strange in their own way, some oddly childish while others are humorously firm.

The play is set in a village governed by leaders in a castle. The main character, K, played by CJ Lange and Gavin Struempler, has been appointed by the castle leaders to be a land surveyor, which is how he is referred to for most of the show. 

K is constantly rejected by the village officials and struggles to gain access into the castle.

Bboth Lange and Struempler, do a terrific job at complementing each other as K as the story progresses. The two actors bring different elements to the character. 

The play begins in darkness, and suddenly, a flash of light appears, and Lange is on stage rambling about finding somewhere to seek shelter. 

Soon after, two characters named Arthur, played by Andrea Shapiro, and Jeremiah, played by Rodrigo Gudino, introduce themselves as his assistants, although they aren’t very helpful.  

Lange does a profound job at showing K’s restlessness, which shows up often when he is interacting with the messenger from the castle. 

K wrestles with one problem after the next and only grows more irritated with his village acquaintances, who are quite the bunch, especially the ill mayor who has a habit of chewing on tissues.

Rodrigo Gudino was excellent at transitioning between Jeremiah and the mayor. His performance may hold the most humorous moments in the show.

He shifted from Jerimiah’s childish character to an old man quite well while keeping that silliness with the mayor.

The play is directed by Alexander Gelman, a Russian-born and American-trained director who teaches for the School of Theatre and Dance. 

Gelman’s techniques, such as positioning his actors in the crowd, add excitement. 

He choreographed K to come down into the first row to use a telephone to ring the castle in one scene. Allowing the audience to get closer to the cast and become part of the show themselves. 

The cast portrays an array of characters, even though there are just seven actors. It is extremely impressive to watch them constantly change roles. 

Shapiro plays six characters by herself and is in nearly every scene. She is highly skilled at portraying completely different personalities. 

She impressively switches from an overly jolly, comedic character to a witty teacher with no sense of humor in her whatsoever.

Lange does a great job letting his voice be heard. He is loud and direct, and he as looks into the audience, a connection surfaces. 

Struempler plays K like he has been the character all his life. His facial expressions are phenomenal in key moments when the tone becomes pressing.

The show hits its climax when a dialogue breaks out between K and Erlanger. Lange as Erlanger shines the most. In his dramatic talk, K enters the story relatively late, he still manages to feel like he was the overarching antagonist of the story.

K does tremendous at showing fear towards Erlanger and that emotion seeps into the crowd. 

Tickets for the performance are $7 in the Corner Theatre at the Stevens Building. The show opened Friday and runs through Sunday. It continues through the next weekend Nov. 14 to Nov. 16.