The Castle, Kafka
Московский Художественный театр имени А. П. Чехова, Moscow, Russia

"There are things that fail through nothing other than themselves."

In January 1922 Franz Kafka starts working on his last novel "The Castle". In August of the same year he gives up all his efforts in frustration. He does not succeed in bringing together myriads of storylines into a coherent unity. And so the novel is breaking off in the middle of a sentence.

In fear of losing creative inspiration and by that the whole story, Kafka is only developing his writing continuously forward, not allowing himself long breaks for corrections or conceptual considerations. For already once, in his opinion, he had suffered the loss of a story due to an accidental interruption – Kafka was never able to get over the fact that he had to lay his work on “Metamorphosis” aside for three days because of a business trip.

This mania of writing process seems to reflect itself in the novel: one late evening without any detectable goal protagonist K. appears in the village below the castle out of the fogs of a vague past and declares himself to be invited as a surveyor. Since nobody has been expecting him, he is immediately dismissed. As the story progresses K. tries to use every opportunity to get into direct contact with the castle and by that to legitimize his presence. He does not succeed. Instead of that K. loses himself in an expanding network of characters and various options to take in order to achieve his goal.

Although Kafka's hero is steadily approaching the castle, it seems as if it is only drifting further away from him. And the deeper the character enters the world of the novel, the more he seems to get lost in its complexity – until he only can hope for the one lucky punch – to finally speak directly to Klamm, an important castle official, and by that to escape being constantly humiliated by Klamm's subordinates.

In his attempts to find acknowledgment of the castle, K. seems to slowly forget the actual goal of his struggle. Instead of reaching his goal he lets this struggle to become an excuse not to take responsibility for his own actions, himself already becoming a part of the system, which he is actually seeking to overcome.

starring: Dmitry Gotsdiner, Natasha Shvets, Natalia Kochetova, Valery Hlevinsky, Yana Davidenko, Gregory Trapeznikov

translation: Ekaterina Raykova-Merz