This week, justArts spoke with Sivan Spector ’18, who directed  Steven Berkoff’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis.”

justArts: Why did you choose “Metamorphosis?” 

Sivan Spector: I really like the story. I think it speaks to  a lot of themes about labor rights and the oppression of workers and how a [person’s] value is reduced to money and how much they can provide for others. That really attracted me.  I love the story so much;  I think it is so ridiculous and weird and hilarious and freaky and speaks to so many possible metaphors.

JA: What are some of the challenges of directing an adaptation of such a well-known novella?

SS: It wasn’t really my challenge, I suppose. It was more the writer’s challenge. When I was thinking that this was a story I wanted to direct I looked up different adaptations and I think the one that I used — Steven Berkoff’s — I think he did a really good job of adapting it. The show was also in a really short time period so that was challenging.

JA: Explain a bit about the Free Play Theatre Cooperative and your experience directing a Free Play Theatre Cooperative show. 

SS: Free Play is a collective that is outside of the UTC, mostly because we didn’t want to go through the bureaucracy. We mainly put on shows every semester and we aim to do more experimental work. Actually, in the past few years we’ve been doing the same thing as the UTC and there hasn’t really been a point in us being separate from the UTC. So, what we are going to do next semester is a new playwrights’ project which basically means we are going to be taking submissions from the whole Brandeis community, probably choosing two or three plays to be workshopped (not necessarily to be put on in a physical production) and worked out with stage direction, with people on their feet, and to assist the playwright with the hope that the playwright will then take that on to develop in a feature and do a full production. The show that I put on, I suppose, was in the style of experimental theater, but it was still kind of a straight play (the audience comes in and sits down etc.). We also have a troupe called “Playback” in which the audience tells stories and then we act them out. So we are going to have a show in late November. 

JA: What was the most rewarding part of directing “Metamorphosis?”

SS: I think the growth I got to experience and the growth I got to watch my actors experience. To be in rehearsal with them and me have to think about, “How do I make the actor understand this.” Just being a leader with all of these creative people and determine the vision.  

JA: Did you alter anything in the play to make it more pertinent to 2017?

SS: We’re not really allowed to change things but what made it pertinent to 2017 was that it was done in 2017, all of the actors are people in 2017 and that works into the show. 

JA: Any last things to add?

SS: Yeah, just that everyone should look out for the other stuff that Free Play is doing and that we are really open to bringing people onto our board. Everyone on our board is graduating so we are really trying to bring people in.

—Lizzie Grossman