School of Theatre and Dance to perform societal drama

By Christopher Plumery

DeKALB – The School of Theatre and Dance will host “The Castle,” an adaptation of a novel of the same name written by Franz Kafka, in the Corner Theater at the Stevens Building.

Opening night begins on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Sunday. The show will continue the next weekend from Nov. 14 through Nov. 16. Tickets will be $7 per person, which can be purchased through the NIU School of Theatre and Dance website. 

The Castle is a story about a man who fights a powerful bureaucracy, attempting and failing to gain entry into a castle where he has been summoned to work. The villagers hold the castle in high regard and act as if the leaders can do no wrong. Josef K, or “K,” is the only villager who can see past the lies.

K is the main character who, according to Alexander Gelman, director of The School of Theatre and Dance, is most likely Kafka projecting himself into his writing. 

“This is how he sees the world,” Gelman said. “In theatre, we take a terrific writer and their worldview, and we enter into a dialogue with that text because we can only be ourselves, and then the audience comes in, and it becomes a layer [sic] of that dialogue, and now we’re all talking to each other.”

The novel was never finished. Kafka died of tuberculosis before it was completed. There have been many theories, created by his fans, that have come with the dialogue that the audience wants to finish, according to Gelman.

Gelman spoke about a universalism that the play evokes. A piece of work that transcends time.

“It seems like it could have been written today,” Gelman said. “We like to think we do classical work or old writings that have been around for centuries because of its age, we don’t do it because its old; we do it despite of its age, because it doesn’t have an age.”

Gelman chose this play for a multitude of reasons. He said it was his favorite work by Kafka and there was a dialogue to be had for it.

 “Every piece we choose for production is there to serve multiple needs: to train the students working on it [and] having a sense of dialogue we want to have with our community,” said Gelman.

One of those community members is Suzanne Rosenik, marketing director for the School of Theatre and Dance. “I’m very excited about the show, I’m looking forward to seeing what the performance will bring,” Rosenik said.

“The play is a type of conversation with the audience. This play was a conversation we wanted to have,” Gelman said.