The Kafka Thing

REVIEW by Willard Manus

THE KAFKA THING at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble (through April 17) is an arrangement of Franz Kafka's short stories created by KOAN, OTE's resident ensemble. Directed by Ron Sossi, the evening brilliantly captures Kafka's dark view of human nature and his concomitant sardonic humor--laughter in the face of evil and death. Writing in the 1920s, Kafka predicted what was ahead for mankind, the horrors of totalitarianism, the misuse of power by the state, the miserable fate of the individual. The KOAN players--Alan Abelew, Deana Cignoni, Beth Hogan, Debbie McMahon, Amanda Street, Cary Thompson, Norman Victor and Luis Zambrano--capture all of that and more in a succession of short, swift scenes in which they act, mime, dance and prance to good effect. A high point is Hogan's hilarious metamorphosis from man to roach in a 6-minute version of Kafka's famed story. Call (310) 477-2055.