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Metamorphosis This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   The scene starts with an empty unlit stage. The spider is stage left in a corner. Thespider is dressed in black and veiled in a spider web. Gregor Samsa is standingcenter stage wearing a black top hat, a gentleman's vest, and a bug's shell whichis not yet revealed to the audience. Franz Kafka is standing stage right leaningagainst the wall. He is dressed in a dark plaid suit. Each character holds adark-colored flashlight; as each character speaks, they turn on theirlight.

Spider and Franz (speaking in one unified voice, crawl in fromcorner): I am here to tell you a complex story about a deep and serious man. Ineach person's life there are obstacles. This is the story of a man whose obstacleconsumed his body, and eventually his life. What would it be like if you awokeand did not recognize the face you saw in the mirror? What would it be like ifyour nightmares became reality? This story is the truth about a man's soul andthe reflection into the soul of his character. In each, troubles run deep, andlife is dark. (Turn off flashlights on the last word.)

Gregor: I was bornon a dark day; the sun had set and darkness protruded over the earth. As I cameout of the darkness of my mother's womb, I came into a world with less light thanthat from which I came ...

Franz: The date was July 3, 1883. I had comeinto a world devastated by war and poverty. You can hold yourself back from thesufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords withyour nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you couldavoid. I distanced myself as much as possible from the world around me but indoing so, I stepped into a much deeper and darker world of self-discovery. Myworld was a sinister one, but I didn't write from the darkness around me, I wrotefrom the darkness I knew from birth. As I glanced up, I saw the man, the one whowould create darkness in my life. The man who would forever dominate my life ...

Gregor: It's hard to live in the shadow of another. A lovely rose, nomatter how determined, cannot live in the shadow of an oak ...

Franz: Andso it was with my father; no matter how hard I tried to grow out of that shadow,he overpowered me ...

Gregor: I tried to please him; I made money,supported our family, became a traveling merchant ...

Franz: I studied inlaw, tried to become the ideal son ...

Gregor: But no matter what I did,it was never enough and without all of my trying, I knew that he would never loveme for myself ...

Spider: But there comes a time in a man's life, nomatter how controlled by other forces, when he has to learn to love himself...

Franz: And so in my spare time I wrote. I wrote the hatred I feltfrom my father. I feel that anyone who cannot come to terms with his life whilehe is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate ... butwith his other hand, he can note down what he sees among the ruins. Theundeniable oppression I saw in myself overcame my fingers as I wrote out thestory of my own struggles masked in the face of a character. It's easier to saythings when you present them as fictional; it's easier to be yourself when no oneknows it's you. I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound andstab us. We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply,like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished intoforests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozensea inside us. Yet, if we pry into our frozen souls we may never be able toreturn to that from which we came.

Gregor: And so goes my story. I awokeone morning to find myself an insect. (Turn with back to

audience,revealing shell, and kneel on ground)

Franz: Immobile in my ownself-discovery ...

Gregor: It was as though all of the darkness of mysoul had seeped though. The ugliness that I saw in myself on the darkest of daysovertook me ...

Spider: He had transformed into a bug, a dirty- shelledcreature. The perfect embodiment of the darkness inside him, shelled from theworld, protected ...

Franz: Yet altogether ugly, I felt like I could nolonger hide the darkness inside me ...

Gregor: And so it consumed myspirit. As an insect my family stopped caring for me. Once they saw the darknessI emitted they wanted me gone. Even my own mother could not bear the sight of me...

Franz: Although in reality I did not die until June 3, 1924, my souldied with the death of Gregor Samsa. (Kneel to ground, bend over.)

Spider: Each died alone in the world. Gregor in the imprisonment of hisfamily's independence from him; Franz entrapped in his own anxiety and depressionand the walls of a sanatorium. They each died in seclusion desperately trying tolearn to love themselves, and, hopefully through that, be loved by theirfamilies. Life's splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all itsfullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there,though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word,by its right name, it will come. Both Gregor and Franz never learned that name.Maybe if they had searched harder they would have seen that that name was theirown. For it is in self-discovery that one is truly happy. And little did theyknow what effect they would have on society.

Franz's work was notpublished until after his death, and without his permission. But Franz foreverhad an impact on society by revealing through his life and the life of GregorSamsa that no one can be happy if they are oppressed, not without first lovingthemselves. Even high-school students can understand the message thatself-respect is more important than the approval of others. Maybe you too willlearn, and Franz Kafka's spirit will live on another day.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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