Metamorphosis | Vesturport


“The triumph of the production is that it uses physical ingenuity to get to the tragic heart of Kafka’s fable.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“It’s grimly disturbing, but illuminated by such brilliant theatricality that it’s impossible to tear your eyes away. Potent, startling, visceral and thoughtful.”
The Times

”When Cave’s famous baritone emerges in the twisted euphoric final scene, it marks the climax of truly special night of theatre”
Time Out, Hong Kong

”Thanks to this team, it is very possibly, the finest, highest expression of theatre to which I´ve yet born witness”
Australian Stage


A Lyric Hammersmith and Vesturport production
Directed and adapted by David Farr and Gisli Örn Gardarsson

Kafka’s terrifying but bizarrely comic story bursts onto the stage in a theatrically explosive new version by Artistic Director David Farr (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre) and actor/director Gisli Örn Gardarsson of Vesturport. This hugely acclaimed production combines breathtaking physicality and daring aerial action as the recently transformed Gregor lithely negotiates a gravity-defying split level set. Domestic tragedy or a metaphor for totalitarian brutality? Metamorphosis is a disturbing story. It is fantastic and horrific; surprisingly funny and very sad. It is about human nature, relationships between people, and reactions to extreme circumstances. A haunting story. A story worth exploring. There is a voice within the story. A voice which has sadly been heard all over the world in many forms. From the birth of the human nature it seems. The ordinary, unremarkable life of the Samsa is turned upside down when their son, Gregor, the sole provider for the family, emerges one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a gigantic insect. His family’s feelings of revulsion turn to resentment with horrifying results. It’s the weirdness you notice first – the split-level set contrasts a drab sitting room and a ceiling-eye view of Gregor’s distorted bedroom.

The production’s stunning design which keeps the insect permanently visible in a topsy-turvy upstairs room, contorting to the sounds of his family’s betrayal and swinging from the rafters, as in a veritable gymnasium. In it, the aerial physicality that has become Gisli Örn Gardarsson’s trademark seems a match made in heaven for Kafka’s hellish creation. With evocative original music composed by world-renowned musician and lyricist Nick Cave and long time collaborator Warren Ellis from The Bad Seeds, the music emphasize Kafka’s dream-like vision and turn it into an electrifying reality.

Metamorphosis was performed twice at the Lyric Hammersmith in London (brought back due to popular demand), toured the UK and then performed in South-Korea (Seoul), Ireland (Dublin), At the National Theatre in Iceland (Reykjavik), Hong Kong in February 2009, Tasmania (Hobart) and Australia (Sidney/Wollongong) in April and May 2009, Colombia (Bogotá) in March 2010, BAM (New York) in December 2010 and St Petersburg in April 2011 as a part of Vesturport winning the European Theatre Award.

Running time:     85 minutes without interval


Gregor Samsa
Gisli Örn Gardarsson

Nina Dogg Filippusdottir

Ingvar E Sigurdsson

Kelly Hunter

Herr Stiethl and Herr Fischer
Jonathan McGuinness

Creative team

Adapted and directed by
Gisli Örn Gardarsson
David Farr

Music by
Nick Cave
Warren Ellis

Stage Design by
Borkur Jonsson

Lighting design
Bjorn Helgason

Original light design
Hartley T A Kemp

Nick Manning

Brenda Murphy


Current Producer
Dyri Jonsson


London, UK
Lyric Hammersmith London Premiere 29 September – 28 October 2006

Reykjavik, Iceland
The National Theater of Iceland Premiere 27th September – 1st December 2007

London, UK
Lyric Hammersmith 14th January – 2nd February 2008

UK tour
Playhouse Liverpool 5 – 9th February 2008
Lowry Salford Manchester 13 – 16th February 2008
Repertory Theatre Birmingham 25th February – 1st Mars 2008
Northern Stage Newcastle 3 – 8th March 2008
Theater Royal Plymouth 10 – 15th March 2008

London, UK
Lyric Hammersmith 24th March – 5th April 2008

Seoul, South Korea
LG Arts Center 14 – 16 May 2008

Dublin, Ireland
Olympia Theatre 29th September – 4th October 2008
Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre festival

Hong Kong Art festival 19th – 21st February 2009

Hobart, Tasmania
Theater Royal Tasmania 26th March – 1st April  2009
Ten Days on the Island festival

Wollongong, Australia
Illawarra Performing Arts Center (IPAC) 15 – 19th April 2009

Sydney, Australia
Sydney Theatre 22th April – 2nd May 2009

Bogotá, Colombia
Bellas Artes Theatre 19 – 24th March 2010
Latin American Theatre Festival

Reykjavik, Iceland
National Theater of Iceland 27th August – 17th September 2010

New York, USA
BAM, Harvey Theatre Brooklyn 30th November – 4th December 2010
Part of the Next Wave Festival 2010

Malmö, Sweden
Malmö Stadsteater 19th February – May 2011.


St. Petersburg, Russia
Molodezhny theatre 13th April 2011
XII Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities

Norilsk, Russia
Norilsk Polar Drama Theatre 6th and 7th October 2011
Norilsk Polar Drama Theater in English
Parallels Theater Festival in Norilsk

Oslo, Norway
National Theatret Oslo 14th January – 27th March 2012

Barcelona, Spain
Teatre Lliure – Sala Fabià Puigserver 5th – 7th July
Part of the GREC 2012 Festival De Barcelona

Munich, Germany
Cuvilliés Theater / Residenz Theater
Premiere 6th December 2012 – 18 March 2016

Calgary, Canada
Max Bell theater / Theatre Calgary 9th – 13th January 2013

London, UK
Lyric Hammersmith 17th January – 16th February 2013

Washington, USA
Eisenhower Theater / Kennedy Center 20th – 22nd February 2013
Part of Nordic Cool 2013

Boston, USA
Paramount Center 27th February- 3rd Mars 2013

Oslo, Norway
National Theatret Oslo 9th – 24th August 2013

Toronto, Canada
The Royal Alexandra Thearer Toronto
Premiere January 28 – March 9, 2014.

Oslo, Norway
National Theatret Oslo 28th April – 12th June 2014

Reykjavik, Iceland
National Theater of Iceland 18th September – 19th November 2014

Zurich, Switzerland
Schauspielhaus Zurich, Pfauen Premiere 2nd December 2016 – ?