The Metamorphosis

(Redirected from Sis!)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Metamorphosis (sometimes staged as Metamorphosis) is an adaptation for the stage (1969) by Steven Berkoff [1] of a novella written by German-language author Franz Kafka.

The original text

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) [2] wrote the novella Die Verwandlung (English: "the metamorphosis" or "the transformation") [3], first published in 1915. It is the story of a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large monstrous insect-like creature. The story continues about Gregor trying to adjust to his new condition.

Translations and adaptations

In 1969 Steven Berkoff performed a stage adaptation of the novella, and the text was published..

In 1974 Berkoff's play was adapted to a South African setting by Nigel Vermaas with the title Sis!.

Berkoff's text was also used for the libretto to Brian Howard's 1983 opera Metamorphosis.

In 1989 a filmed version of Berkoff's play was aired as an episode of Theatre Night on May 21, directed by Jim Goddard.

Performance history in South Africa

1974: Sis! performed at the Arena Theatre in October, with a cast consisting of Frantz Dobrowsky, Norman Coombes, Beryl Gordon, Elise Hibbert, Ronald Wallace, Anthony James and Denis Bettesworth.

1980: A Troupe Theatre Company production was staged at The People's Space, directed by Richard E. Grant and Michael O'Brien, with Henry Goodman ("Gregor Samsa"), Hilary Jones ("Greta Samsa"), Fiona Ramsay ("Mrs Samsa"), Ian Roberts ("Mr Samsa"), Charles Whaley ("Chief Clerk"), Michael O'Brien ("Lodger") and Chas Unwin ("Lodger"). Mime and choreography by Henry Goodman, lighting design by Richard Grant and Nicholas Fine, costumes by Richard Grant and Birrie le Roux, stage manager Denise Newman.

1980: The same production was staged at the Market Theatre in October, .

1982: Staged by PACOFS, directed by Desmond Hughes, with Anton Welman.

1997: Little Zorba Productions brought the play to the National Arts Festival in 1997. Directed by Yael Farber, it featured Sue Pam-Grant, Brian Webber, Jason Kennett, Yana Sakelaris.


The People's Space theatre programme, Feb/March 1980, donated by Tony Fletcher, held by NELM: [Collection: FLETCHER, Jill]: 2005. 75. 19. 9.

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

The Rand Daily Mail, 17 October 1974.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

Barrow, Brian & Williams-Short, Yvonne 1988.

National Arts Festival programme, 1997.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page