The Library of Congress, the Czech Embassy, and Georgetown University presented a free film and performance, “Glimpses of Kafka’s Fiction and Memoirs for the Stage”, Oct. 29 in the Library’s Mary Pickford Theater.
The one-hour program included a short film on the legendary writer, and monologue adaptations from Franz Kafka’s renowned “Metamorphosis” and some of his other works.
The performance, by Georgetown University theater students and alumni, was directed by faculty of its Theater and Performance Studies department.
It’s part of the Library’s Docs in Salute Series focused on Jewish themes, and also part of the Czech Embassy’s “Mutual Inspirations Festival 2014 – Franz Kafka”.
Kafka (1883-1924) born in Prague to a Jewish middle-class, German-speaking family, wrote in his spare time, often throughout the night, while he worked as a lawyer for an insurance company. Kafka’s works greatly influenced existentialism, and writers including Nobel Prize winners Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre (he declined it), and Gabriel Garcia Márquez, as well as composers and artists.
The month-long “Mutual Inspirations Festival” concludes on Oct. 30 at the Embassy of the Czech Republic. You’re invited “to dress in Kafka style (1920s or something a little absurd)” for a free evening of comics and live music featuring the three-person band Jaromír 99. A lecture on “Kafka and Comics” begins at 6 P.M., followed at 7 P.M. by the Jaromír 99 concert. Both events are free, but RSVP for each is required: Lecture, Concert.
Czech illustrator and musician Jaromír Švejdík, popularly known as Jaromír 99, will deliver the talk. He transformed Kafka’s final, unfinished novel “The Castle” into a comic, commissioned by the British publishing company SelfMadeHero. Publishers Weekly described the work as a “powerful interpretation of Kafka’s timeless themes.”
The festival also has an encore presentation, a free exhibit “Eugenic Minds”, opening on Nov. 8 at American University’s Katzen Arts Center, in collaboration with the Shoah Memorial Prague. The exhibit combines a documentary by Pavel Štingl, animations, paintings by Xenie Hoffmeisterová, and literary artwork by Patrik Ouředník.
As Kafka wrote in “Amerika”, “Everyone is welcome!”
The “Mutual Inspirations Festival”, celebrating Czech and American cultural connections, honored Václav Havel in 2013, Miloš Forman in 2012, and Antonín Dvořák in 2011.
For more info: “Glimpses of Kafka’s Fiction and Memoirs for the Stage”, free, Oct. 29, 1 P.M. Library of Congress, Madison Building, Pickford Theater, Third floor, Independence Avenue between First and Second Streets, S.E., Washington, D.C. Contact Gail Shirazi 202-707-9897, email@example.com, Galina firstname.lastname@example.org. Presented by the Library of Congress’ Motion Picture and Recorded Sound Division in cooperation with the Library’s Hebrew Language Table and the Embassy of the Czech Republic, www.mzv.cz/washington, 3900 Spring of Freedom Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 202-274-9100. (The Embassy was closed Oct. 28 for National Day, honoring the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918.) American University’s Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C.