Though Franz Kafka’s work is not categorized as theater of the absurd per se, his writings have been cited as important predecessors of the genre. So it is fitting that the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, Philadelphia’s beacon of absurdist productions, would offer a stage adaptation of his last, unfinished novel for this year’s Fringe. Director Tina Brock (who appears as the anxious Innkeeper’s Wife) recognizes the absurdity of the mindless bureaucracy, meaningless protocol, and numbing totalitarian control portrayed in THE CASTLE, and captures it in spades in a ridiculously funny, chilling, and provocative show.
Anna Kiraly’s smart scenic design, comprising three rows of detached walls and distressed doors that lead nowhere, Robin Stamey’s hazy lighting, and Erica Hoelscher’s ever-impressive costumes enhance the illogic of the script and the characterizations of its preposterous players. The IRC’s familiar ensemble members, led by the marvelous David Stanger, Ethan Lipkin, and Kirsten Quinn, turn in spot-on performances in keeping with the disturbingly risible theme, and the mere sight of Michael and Tomas Dura will keep you in stitches. The IRC always numbers among my favorites, and THE CASTLE is no exception; it is everything I expect in profound absurdity. [Second Stage at the Adrienne] September 3-22, 2013, fringearts.ticketleap.com/franz-kafkas-the-castle.