By John Owoo
(At the Goethe-Institut in Accra)
A group of actors, comedians and a poet from Ghana and Germany on Wednesday made an intense presentation of “The Trial” a famous novel by the German language novelist Franz Kafka.
In a rather fast moving play at the Goethe-Institut in Accra, Felix Banholzer, Marius Bechen, Dr. So Lars Evers, Jeneral Nta Tia and Yibor Kojo Yibor enchanted a participatory audience to a cool blend of theatre, comedy and poetry.
Directed by Simon Eifeler, the performance, which is without doubt a subtle fusion of two cultures (Ghana / Germany), was mixed with captivating poetry and infectious comedy while carrying the audience to the heart of unjust trials in both African and Europe and indeed the world at large.
“It was an amazing performance – the energy on stage was so high it was virtually spread to members of the audience, who were positioned very close to the actors not to mention the absurdity of the trial”, said Tracy Sanders from the United States.
Kafka’s book – whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy – is indeed smartly interspersed with the madness of totalitarianism while resonating with a chilling truth for generations of readers.
Director Eifeler, who employs the use of German, English and Ga, managed to turn the trial into multiple ones alongside varied stories through lively and fast paced scenes while keeping the audience on the edge of their seats with coherent texts that transmit images from various parts of the world.
Performed in a quadrangle, the position of the actors and the crowd enabled effective communication and interaction with the audience, which often led to their contribution thereby unveiling the hidden richness of Kafka’s book.
“I was enthralled to see Ghanaians and Germans onstage using Ga, English and German languages as a medium of expression – we need more of these collaborations to enrich each other’s culture”, added Kofi Owusu, a traditional / contemporary dancer in Accra.
Goethe-Institut Accra, Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf, Freies Ensemble Düsseldorf, Rana Motors, Nubuke Foundation and the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana (Legon) supported the performance.