Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Trail

4/5 rating
The Trail | Young Vic

I didn't know anything about the play before I walked in. I had an amazing experience.

The stage is one largish conveyor belt and the sets keep changing as the belt moves. The seating is on either side of the conveyor belt. We got lucky. We sat in the front row. While this undoubtedly gave us a great experience, even without it would have still been good.

The play is based on a book by Kafka. It is about a society ruled by law where the law is ultimate and as the dialogue goes, everything belongs to the court. From stealing his clothes to stealing his life, K sees the power of the court that wouldn't even tell him what he is guilty of but hold him on trial. In a sense the conveyor belt shows that K is caught in a process that he can't fight. Rory Kinnear plays K and bears it all till he crumbles down. And when he does you see that while his fingers are shaking visibly for the benefit of the audience, his character is shaking all over, even his little toe. A remarkable actor that he is, the play is rewarding for a single actor. That said, equally amazing was Kate O'Flynn who is so versatile playing all the women who are either his love interest or the other way around.
As the play goes on K searches for what he is stands accused of by combing through his life. He recounts all his mistakes in life, however small even at the age of 4. But his mistakes get less and less negligible until the weight of his guilt crushes him on to the conveyor belt.

Well done and well executed. The audience closest to the conveyor belt are never dimmed. While it could be that the audience are the jury and the peeping neighbours the light was a bit annoying. And while I have never read Kafka, I am familiar with what people refer to as Kafkaesque. I didn't find the play particularly Kafkaesque, neither the terror nor the surrealism. Acting however was flawless from all of them and not just Kinnear.

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