Franz Kafka never completed his novel "The Trial," and although he requested that it be burned after his death, the novel was posthumously published. Kafka might have torched it himself if he were alive to see this Company of Angels adaptation--a tiresome two-hour travesty.
Kafka's antihero, Joseph K. (Ed Trotta), is a milquetoast everyman who finds himself arrested and on trial for a crime that is never revealed to him. He meets various lascivious and unscrupulous characters as he winds through the legal labyrinth. Yet despite the winsome wenches (bimboism without motivation under Dan Shor's direction) and the notable source of this piece, virtually nothing works.
All the wicked satire of a world where "the law should be accessible to all men at all times," but it isn't, is lost. The flat acting, the uninspired adaptation by Trotta, and Shor's direction--which lacks the spirit of absurdity and the burning fever of indignation--all conspire to destroy social commentary of Kafka's that unfortunately rings too true today.
What a shame! In a town where we were forcibly fed the O.J. trials, Parts 1 and 2, you'd think that this would have more bite.
* "The Trial," Company of Angels, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Ends May 24. $15. (213) 466-1767. Running time: 2 hours.