The Well of the Saints and The End of the Beginning

Archived Production


Steven Berkoff






As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from a night of uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect...

Big Telly brought together the stunning music and dance team that created its Autumn 1995 production of Cuchulainn to produce this Irish premiere of Berkoff's amazing production. Berkoff's play is based on Franz Kafka's story Metamorphosis about a travelling salesman who finds that overnight he has become transformed into a giant insect. The story becomes an allegory of the outsider trapped in a society which is distinctly uncomfortable with that which is damaged or different. Gregor Samsa's horrific transformation from human to insect is achieved through a minimalistic and highly stylised acting technique. Samsa's family is a choric ensemble, which tells of their painful emotional journey from bewildered sympathy to unqualified disgust at his predicament. Original music and choreographed movement combined to heighten the action of this dynamic piece of theatre. The piece was in turn nightmarish and tragic - full of exquisite irony and savage humour as it revealed the quirks of human nature when confronted with the unacceptable.

Metamorphosis was a phenomenal combination of speech, movement and spectacle - Big Telly was delighted to present the contemporary classic by one of Britain's leading theatre artists.


  • “Simultaneously hilarious and unsettling…”
  • Sunday Times, February 1996
  • “… everything great drama brilliantly and energetically presented should be”
  • Irish News, February 1996

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