Miranda Haymon’s conceptual adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story opened Next Door @NYTW
July 17, 2019: In The Penal Colony, loosely based on Franz Kafka’s short story of the same name, opened Next Door @NYTW where Miranda Haymon’s fragmented and highly conceptual take on the classic tale will run through July 28. In this ambitious new staging, three black men convene in an unnamed penal colony and challenge the presumptions of the worth of a human body, asking what it means for black men to exist in the media.
The piece, with little dialogue, relies heavily on sound and movement, military drills and hip-hop, to make a case for the treatment and expectations of black men in our culture today. The three actors, Jamar Brathwaite, David Glover, and Dahari Noel, portraying The Officer, The Condemned, and The Traveler, respectively, are dazzling. The experimental staging, directed by the playwright, in the intimate theater is a thought provoking and relevant exploration of our cultural divide that couldn’t be more relevant.
In the Penal Colony, presented by NYTW Next Door at the 4th Street Theatre (79 East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue), runs through July 28. The performance will run approximately 70 minutes, with no intermission.
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Photography: Barry Gordin