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A Hunger Artist

Franz Kafka

1st October 2:00 pm
“Meno Fortas” theatre

Director: Eimuntas Nekrošius
Cast: Viktorija Kuodytė, Vaidas Vilius, Vygandas Vadeiša, Genadij Virkovskij
Producer: “Meno Fortas” theatre

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins
Premiere: November 2015, Lithuania

Dinner is served!
But will anyone have it?

Imagine a spectator who has read every – all right, just the most esteemed – analytical review of “A Hunger Artist” by Franz Kafka. Even that person would consider the theatrical interpretation of the writer’s last short story by Eimuntas Nekrošius a surprise. You unexpectedly discover yourself wearing a tentative smile on at least several occasions while watching this drama developing on stage – cheerless, just like most of Kafka’s writing. And you experience a slight cognitive discrepancy while seeing the female hunger artist instead of the male character as created by Kafka. You might also wonder why Nekrošius’ protagonist always walks free when Kafka depicted him caged.
Literary critics who have tried to analyse this short story by Kafka came up with a wealth of interpretative ideas concerning its hidden meanings that range from a tragedy of an artist rejected by public to a tragedy of a human being who attempted to overcome God. Whoever is right, the theatrical narrative by the splendid Viktorija Kuodytė and the trio of her stage partners – Vaidas Vilius, Vygandas Vadeiša and Genadij Virkovskij – is so powerful and involving that spectators are left with almost no time or will to dig into the philosophical connotations until after the performance is over.
All of the sudden, you capture yourself listening to a popular song from your childhood sung by the Hunger Artist or attempting to grasp a short medical lecture on digestion and, almost unsurprisingly, everything looks and sounds entirely organic; just like the ascetic minimalism, so much in tune with Kafka. Most importantly, the four artists on the stage evoke almost incessant quivers of what some call the soul.