My interpretation of The Trial is a portrayal of injustice in the political and social systems. Kafka presents through the protagonist Joseph K, how your fate can be determined wholly through the power of others. Kafka looks at mediocrity: K is an average man with an average job, living in a corrupt world – therefore connecting the work to common men and women. K’s world is portrayed as a nightmare with never answered questions and a feeling of entrapment. Berkhoff’s created adaption of Kafka’s novel leaves the play unresolved: we never learn the outcome of Joseph K – but the audience have been set up with the notion throughout that rarely does the Law favour the seemingly innocent.
My main interpretation of The Trial is of Kafka creating a surreal, immoral and unjust world where the average man can be condemned for a crime they did not commit. I personally interpret the play to be about the social and political unfairness and corruption that existed at the time in which Kafka wrote the play – 1914. At this time there was a lot of social unrest as reform in Europe was badly needed, war was on the verge of breaking and despite communism forming there were large class divides. Therefore I believe that Kafka wanted to illustrate the unease in society through the use of taking an ordinary example of injustice and pushing it beyond realism to appear surreal. However I also think that Kafka wanted to represent the world at that time as a nightmare-like place. Therefore I would use dreamlike qualities in my performance in order to show the audience that Joseph’s K world is like a nightmare.
I would set my performance of The Trial in a studio space where the seating could be detached so that the audience are sat on there own. By doing this, none of the audience would be sitting closely to one another and they would be immediately pushed out of their comfort zone by feeling isolated and exposed. As the audience came in, I would want some of the actors to body search them, similarly to airport security, again to make the audience feel exposed and victimised. It immediately causes tension and I would want the performers to keep completely straight faced as if they have been brainwashed and are controlled by someone or something else. I would want my staging to be very simplistic as Berkhoff was strongly influenced by Bertolt Brecht believed that for the audience to be inspired, sound effects should be created by performs, characters should talk directly at the audience and there should be limited set and props. However I would have eight white boxes on the stage, four stage left and four stage right, painted in white all at different heights so that this could create levels for the chorus.
By setting the performance in a studio space would mean that my actors would be on the stage throughout the entire play. I would also have the chorus dressed totally in white as I feel that this is the colour representing exposure: similar to the Big Brother theory that you’re always being watched. However I would want all of the costumes to be in different styles so that none of the chorus are wearing the exact same. On the other hand I would want K to be totally in black as this would stand out in contrast to the chorus. Black is also the colour associated with death and so it would put the idea into the audience’s mind that his fate has already been predetermined and highlights the corruption that no one can stand a fair trial. To create the surreal world that Kafka wanted to portray to the audience, I would have the entire chorus in white face paint with dark, heavy eyes and black lips as this would completely differentiate them from