Dark humor and absurdism rule ‘The Castle’

The  Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium takes on Kafka with "The Castle," part of this year's Fringe Festival.  Credit: Johanna Austin@AustinArt.org
The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium takes on Kafka with “The Castle,” part of this year’s Fringe Festival.
Credit: Johanna Austin@AustinArt.org

Tina Brock is feeling a little frustrated when she answers the phone. With set designer Anna Kiraly off teaching a workshop in Hungary, the co-founder and artistic designer of the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium is laboriously trying to capture an ethereal, haunting atmosphere that Kiraly, a skilled painter, could far more easily conjure.

The process could prove useful to the absurdist theater company’s latest production, however. As part of this year’s Fringe Festival, the IRC is producing an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel “The Castle,” a bleak comedy all about frustrated desires. The novel itself was a source of frustration to its legendary author, who left it unfinished — ending mid-sentence — when he died of tuberculosis in 1924.

The story traces the futile and confounding journey of a land surveyor known only as K, who is summoned to a village by officials from an ominously looming castle for reasons he can never quite ascertain. “He keeps coming up against opposition and obstacles and a very strange world that doesn’t make sense to him,” Brock says. “The people in the world seem to understand it very well, but it has that surreal quality where you come into a situation that definitely has a structure but you don’t know what it is. K wants one simple thing, but he can’t seem to communicate what he needs from a spiritual or a language perspective, and he just continues on and falls apart psychologically and physically.”

Typical of Kafka, the novel is marked by a distinct lack of hope or comprehension of one’s fate, but also contains a remarkable amount of (admittedly dark) humor. “I find it hilarious,” says Brock, who cites influences including “Fawlty Towers,” Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” and the Lemony Snicket books for her own approach to the material.

“There’s something really funny to me about a continued, repetitive attack on a single-minded goal. There’s something inherently funny about that to me. A lot of absurdist work can be very precious about making a large statement and sags under its own weight. But the weight is already in the play, in the writing, the style, the magnitude of issues that you’re dealing with. So it helps to have a sense of humor.”

‘The Castle’
Sept. 3-22
Second Stage at The Adrienne Theater
2030 Sansom St.
$15-$25, 215-285-0472
www.fringearts.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.