In the Penal colony | Franz Kafka – Version 2 | Athens Festival 2014


Production credits:

Translation-Direction: Savvas Stroumpos

Set & Costume design: Ilias Papanikolaou

Music: Leonidas Maridakis

Lighting design: Christina Thanasoula

Make up: Virginia Tsichlaki

Dramaturgy: Sofia Simelitidou



Explorer|Narrator: Meletis Ilias

Officer: David Maltese

Condemned man: Eleana Georgouli

Soldier: Despina Chatzipavlidou

Franz Kafka wrote the short story “In the Penal Colony” in 1914 (it was published in 1919) amidst the flames of the First World War. Although it has been rendered as a prophetic story about the human disasters of the 20th century (Auschwitz, Guantanamo, White cells, etc.), it is actually an account of a nightmare the author had. Kafka places us in a temporally indefinable penal colony, where “justice” is administered as follows: the convict, not knowing either what crime he has committed or his future punishment is put on a torturing machine, which inscribes on his body, to his death, the law he has violated. The regime is slowly dying, only to be replaced by an equally relentless although more humane one. In the early 21th century, the short story’s political, psychological and moral implications still ail humanity. Modern societies are increasingly transformed into penal colonies, by inscribing in a million ways on their subject’s bodies- and to their death- the laws they have, unbeknownst to them, violated.

The Zero Point theatre group is making a second attempt at approaching Franz Kafka’s story, while continuing to explore the issue of the de-humanization of modern man.


Savvas Stroumpos