‘Big brother’ and the Cold War at Worthing

The sinister tale of Joseph K - a man arrested without having done anything - is brought to the stage at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing on March 23-24 at 7.30pm in a new production from Berkshire-based Blackeyed Theatre.

Steven Berkoff adapted the tale from the novel by Franz Kafka (1883-1924). The director is Ella Vale.

Joseph K finds himself the victim of anonymous governing forces, an authoritarian power which relentlessly hunts him down for a crime he cannot discover the details of. Finding himself arrested and awaiting trial, K sinks deeper and deeper.

Playing all the female parts in the piece is Nadia Morgan.

“This is the first time I have worked for the company. I saw that they were looking for actors, I think, back in August or September. I saw the name of the director, an actress I had worked with a couple of times. I just thought the project looked interesting.

“With the production, Ella is particularly keen that we find the human story in the piece. It does not necessarily jump off the page when you read the play. It’s the story of this man who is accused of something. He never finds out what it is, and it’s about how it tears his life apart.

“I don’t think there is anything didactic about the production. Maybe it’s a story that could happen to anyone. I suppose politically and socio-historically it is a story that happened in all sorts of situations in the Holocaust, people being put on trial for no reason other than existing. But we are not trying to layer that onto the production.

“We are setting it in the 1950s. That’s the director’s concept, but it fits quite well into it. Joseph K is a neat-living guy. He has his job. He has his pastimes. He is quite straightforward. There is something 50s about him. But with the 50s you also get that notion of spying, the big brother phenomenon of the Cold War and of the Stasi in Germany. I think Kafka was influenced by quite a lot of stuff from that era.”

Previous touring productions from Blackeyed Theatre include Oh What A Lovely War, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Alfie and the world premiere of Steven Berkoff’s Oedipus.