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Blackeyed Theatre's The Trial

Published: 2 Mar 2012 17:300 comments

"When I read the book I said 'what the hell?' and then when I read the play it was a bigger 'what the hell?!'"

INNOVATIVE: Blackeyed Theatre's production of The Trial is coming to South Hill Park, Bracknell

Bracknell-based actor Paul Taylor wasn't shy about sharing the difficulties of getting to grips with Steve Berkoff's adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial for Blackeyed Theatre company.

The play tells the disorienting tale of Joseph K, a rootless citizen at the mercy of government forces beyond his control, caught up in a web of bureaucracy and the machinations of a legal system he isn't meant to understand. It's heavy stuff but rewarding, as Paul, who plays multiple characters in the production, explained.

"We realised in rehearsals that all we can do in the play is just take at face value everything that comes up. You can't look at what this or that means. You never find out exactly what's going on. As a company what we realise is you never get those answers - we are showing K's predicament, K's story.

"We were a bit worried that it would be a bit vague for the audience, but we have been approached by people - one woman in particular said she came along to the play knowing nothing about it at all, but she was going through some legal battles and she said everything on that stage she could relate to. If they have been embroiled in the legal system or bureaucracy, they can relate to what's going on. So in that way it is a very accessible story.

"We have been blown away by the audiences from the get-go. The audiences have been phenomenal. It's one of those pieces where you leave and you say, 'I had a really great time', but then you say, 'hang on, what just happened?!'"

Paul explained that the play was also unexpectedly funny: "It's a strange world, but it is very funny - that's something people are surprised about. At points there are belly laughs coming from the audience."

He was also full of praise for Blackeyed Theatre company, an associate company of South Hill Park, in Bracknell. "Blackeyed are fantastic, Something that Blackeyed is known for is choosing epic pieces and small casts. They do not try to be clever or seek challenging stuff; what they say is 'this piece is great, how are we going to do it and tell the story to the best of our ability?'"

The Trial is at South Hill Park from Tuesday, March 20 to Thursday, March 22. Book tickets, £9-£14 from www.southhillpark.org.uk or call 01344 448 123.

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