Ein Bericht für eine Akademie
Ein Bericht für eine Akademie is a short story, in the form of a monologue, by Franz Kafka.
The original text
Written in German and published in 1917, the work tells the story of an ape named Red Peter, who has been raised as a human, and reports on his process of transformation, his experiences and his longings to the Academy of Sciences.
The original text has been translated into English and many other languages.
Translations and adaptations
The story has been adapted for the stage a number of times in many parts of the world. South African examples include:
A Report to an Academy (Schiess)
This South Africa it was translated into English as A Report to an Academy and adapted for the stage by Mario Schiess, for a South African production in 1980.
An Afrikaans translation and adaptation, called Na-aap (literally "after-ape", i.e. "to mimic" or "to imitate") was done by Arnold Blumer.
Kafka's Ape (Phala & Miyambo)
Another South African adaptation, called Kafka's Ape was created by Phala Ookeditse Phala (director) and actor Tony Miyambo. In this version, which centres Black South African artists and their experiences, addressing internalized anti-Black racism and the history of apartheid and post-apartheid in South Africa. , Phala and Miyambo highlight the complexities of identity in the twenty-first century and invite audiences to explore, through an animal’s gaze, the relationship between self and other.
Performance history in South Africa
1980: Performed in English as A Report to an Academy in the Schiess version, directed by Mario Schiess with Marius Weyers. The production became a massive hit, financially and economically and critically, being performed around the country and abroad for the following number of years.Weyers won a number of awards for his portrayal, including the Fleur du Cap Award in 1980. In 1987 Weyers performed the same adaptation to rave reviews in Los Angeles, where critics noted the parallels with apartheid race science.
1990: Presented by Basil Rubin on the Fringe, National Arts Festival, directed by Mario Schiess and starring Sam Williams.
2003*?: Abduragman Adams did a version of the Schiess in English text at the Grahamstown Festival.
2009: Karoly Pinter directed the Schiess in English version, starring Sello Maake ka Ncube.
2013: Performed as Na-aap in the Blumer Afrikaans version at the Aardklop festival in Porchefstroom in 2013, as a Clover Aardklop production, directed by Jaco Bouwer, with De Klerk Oelofse.
2021: Kafka's Ape performed in Johannesburg and livestreamed internationally on 20 April, featuring Tony Miyambo directed by Phala Ookeditse Phala. The event was sponsored by the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, UTM; the Jackman Humanities Institute; the Department of English and Drama at UTM; the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa; the Laboratory of Kinetic Objects at the University of the Western Cape; and the Centre for the Less Good Idea.
National Arts Festival programme, 1990. p.136.
Aardklop Programme 2013
Publicity on the Kafka's Ape event from the University of Toronto Mississauga (courtesy of Don Rubin)
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