Monday, April 20, 2020

Stunner: The Metamorphosis at the Royal Opera House

Edward Watson as Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis at London’s Royal Opera House. (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

For the next month, Arthur Pita’s dance-theatre adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, which premiered at London’s Royal Opera House in 2011, can be streamed on Youtube – and you don’t want to miss it. I think it’s one of the most astonishing pieces of theatre or dance that I’ve ever seen. Baryshnikov starred in a stage version, directed by Steven Berkoff, in 1989, that I thought was fake and repetitive; Baryshnikov was the only reason to see it, but it didn’t serve him especially well. Pita made this adaptation for Edward Watson, one of the Royal Ballet’s principal dancers, who has a narrow, geometric face that matches his marvelously elongated frame – the perfect physical equipment to play Gregor Samsa, the Czech bourgeois who awakes one day to find he’s been transformed into an insect.