Metamorphosis- Form and Structure.

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Metamorphosis- Form and Structure


  • The play is performed as a piece of Total Theatre.
  • This is to stimulate all the senses, as they are all engaged in real life.
  • Every part of the actors’ bodies, every facial expression, and all the vocal ranges of the actors’ voices are used and pushed to the extreme.
  • To represent different reactions, the actors use the Berkoff Scale with the different levels provoking different responses and emotions in the audience.
  • The levels are: naturalistic, bold, abstract, distorted, and grotesque. They increase in intensity as you progress along the scale.
  • These different intensities allow the audience to both emphasise with the characters and be physically repulsed, depending on which level is used.
  • Many different dramatic techniques are used to make it a piece of physical theatre, thus creating the eerie world of the Samsa household.
  • These include the extensive use of mime, as no props are used, such as when the family make objects appear from the air whilst collecting food for Gregor, and when they mime eating their breakfast.
  • This creates a sense of emptiness, thus highlighting the emptiness of their lives. It also creates an unwelcoming, cold atmosphere and makes their world appear even more far apart from that of the audiences.
  • Gregor’s transformation is effective, because rather than using props that would over exaggerate it, the actor just manipulates his body to achieve the insect state.
  • It maintains the simplicity, and can also shock the audience with the amazing manoeuvring of the body, and makes the entire stage seem quite fantastic and strange. It completely detaches the play from the ordinary, and the audience.
  • Robotic movements are used to illustrate how the Samsa family have become so concerned with the way they appear to society, that they are almost like machines being controlled by it.
  • It also reiterates how unfulfilled their lives are, that they behave in such an un-unique fashion.
  • In addition, it again distances the audience from the Samsa world, as they see them behaving so unnaturally and abnormally.
  • They also repeat many of these gestures, representing the repetitiveness of their lives. For example, when the family are saying what Gregor means for them, they repeat robotic movements to ticking.
  • The ticking noise is used a lot in the play, and they are all obsessed with time. This is to represent that they have no future, so they concentrate on the present.
  • Other unerring sounds are used, such as the heartbeat, which creates a very sinister atmosphere.
  •  This mixture of bizarre movement together with sound, creates an intense atmosphere, thus achieving the objective of total theatre and completely stimulating the audience.
  • Tableaux are used expansively throughout the play to show the responses and reactions of the family at certain points, such as when Gregor escapes whilst Greta and Mrs Samsa are clearing his room.
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  • This freezing creates an un-naturalistic effect, which again distances the audience and characters.
  • This effectively creates a world of shock, as the audience are able to study the faces of the actors, and depending on what level of the Berkoff Scale is used, can become quite affected by them.    
  • Images are created using just the actors’ bodies, such as when they make a beetle by standing in a line, waving their arms.
  • This creates a heightened world, so surreal that it completely distances the audience, making them feel quite disturbed.



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