"An ever-intriguing writer."
"A genuine talent."




A man hangs upside-down from the ceiling.
The upside-down man’s name is Gísi Örn Gardarsson.
He’s a founding member of Iceland’s Vesturport Theatre
and comes from a Mid-Atlantic gymnastic background.
Gísi son of Gardar is using his aerial prowess to bring to life
Franz Kafka’s nightmarish tale of unsuspecting
travelling salesman Gregor Samsa;
who awakens one morning
transformed in his Czech bed
into a quite monstrous vermin.
Kept permanently visible in a topsy-turvy Escheresque
upstairs room, Gísi son of Gardar’s transform-ed salesman
is two-parts cockroach to at least one-part Chris Scharma.
Constantly contorting, campusing, mantle-shelving and swinging,
quite literally, from the rafters of The Lyric Hammersmith’s main house.
Chris Scharma, by the way, is a famous American rock-climber. I looked it up.
Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ was first published in 1915.
That’s less than 10 years before his slow painful death from TB.
Kafka was a man who felt “condemned” to write.
But a man unwilling to view writing as a viable profession.
A man who simply didn’t believe it was
something which should be done for money.
He is known to have given strict instructions to his friend
and literary executor Max Brod, that all of his manuscripts
and all of his papers were to be destroyed upon his dissolution
(may his glorious soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life).
But luckily for us, Brod chose not to comply with those dying wishes.
Not so long ago, I attempted to visit Herr Doktor Kafka’s grave,
in Sector 21 of Prague’s New Jewish Cemetery. Alas, I arrived too late.
Finding the iron gates closed and padlocked shut for the night,
I had to content myself instead with a trip up the nearby Žižkov TV Tower.
From the observation deck, at 328-foot above the city,
I watched the sun disappear behind a Bohemian cloud
and collapse into a red dwarf on the horizon.
I took note of the oversized and faceless sculptures of black babies
which were crawling up and down the polished steel
of the Žižkov TV Tower's Soyuz 7K-11 pillars,
but not one of the black babies looked much like Gísi Örn Gardarsson.
Or, for that matter, the famous American rock-climber Chris Scharma.

Vesturport Theatre Company

watch Chris Scharma in action

Kafka's grave



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