Titillating. Titular. Title.

His Mother never loved him they’ll say;
No, I loved him too well Shey’ll say.
His Father never spoke to him they’ll say;
We never had much to say He’ll say.
Ding dong the witch is dead we’ll say;
He never took responsibility She’ll say;
We couldn’t be prouder He’ll say.

I wish I were a tree I’ll say
I wish I were happy I’ll say

Come to me
Come and see
The raving kid
As he performs before
Audience applause galore
His abhoring fans adore
His mistletoe kisses
And fanciful wishes
Of fairy tale bitches.
Into the ocean he pours
A little bit more
Of marrow begotten
From friends he’s forgotten
Whom he’ll see nevermore

With his body like glass
Sinking faster than fast
What tricks, what repast.

On fingers of bone
Sucked cleaner than home
All that’s left his hallowed skeleton
Strewing marrow with every wasted gesture

And as his eyes turn to see
What he has left to be
The crowd is gazing back
Unappreciating his act.
It’s only killing while the lad
Is killing himself awhile.
Now, it all seems so sad.
The lights fade to black,
The curtain closes–snap

And that’s all that was left to see
Of all the kid was meant to be
I hope it was thrilling
I hope it was chilling
Because that’s all he ever hoped to be.


The Grinch!

Let me tell you about Christmas:

Nobody gets Christmas like I do.

See, Christmas, is wholly and completely consumed by capitalism.

See, back in the way back when, we had this little thing called “Sol Invictus” or “Saturnalius” depending on whether your gods wore togas or drank mead from skulls. Anyway, it was all about the long cold winters and the fear, the very real fear that everything would die in the dark and in the cold without the light of the sun.

Because every year, people didn’t know if the sun was coming back or not.

So on December Twenty-Five , the longest and coldest day of the year, everyone would huddle around, cut boughs off evergreens, bring them inside, and pray that the sun would return.

They didn’t know better. They didn’t know that the shortest day of the year was actually the Twenty-First and that the length of the day is based on the earth’s orbit around the sun in relation to its axis.

So, basically idiots. But, …well meaning idiots.

Nevertheless, “Christmas” was all about love and warmth and kindness, right? Wrong. It was about keeping out the cold. It was about when is the sun gonna come back?

Well, we know better today don’t we? We’re so smart that we know better, don’t we? We know the sun will return. Because we’re not idiot like them, right?


See, nowadays we have to keep the spirit alive. Because we worship the dollar. The big, fat King Dollar Bill.  And He is a fickle god isn’t He? We don’t know if He will ever come back do we?  Do we? No no no no no noooooooooo….

So what do we do? What do we do? We buy presents. We buy tinsel. And lights. And stockings. And stocking stuffers. And trees, because weren’t those other idiots quaint back in the olden days?

And here we are, hiding in our homes, trying to keep out the starving, the destitute, the poor…

Just buying presents to prove that we can, buying presents to prove that we’re not like them, buying presents hoping that one day we won’t have this fear inside of us.

Guess what? It’ll pass. Someday, we’ll figure out the laws of economics just like we figured out the laws of astronomy.

And then we’ll move on to something new. Something else to keep out the cold.

But, til then, you’ve got me.

I am the cold, the hungry, and the poor.

I am the forgotten, the lonely, the destitute…


I’m the Grinch.


Fruitful is my hatred, blossoming
Just like Mother’s always saying;
Just like Mother’s simple sayings,
”                                                              ”
She didn’t say a thing,
Not a tear drop anything,
then why am I still bleeding?
Why are my insides seeping?
Why do my bones, still aching,
Lie in radioactive sludge, still dripping
Through my worn out casements, spilling,
As the bellows they are billowing
My innards, they are singing,
Into radiation, they are glistening,
Through the metal bolts, they are eating,
Turning me to filings they are flinging
‘cross the wasted whorl.
To be released, they are screaming,
Upon this tin and tiny world.

From Sister to Murderer & Other Tales of Love (Adapting Kafka’s Metamorphosis)

Today, let us discuss The Metamorphosis.



Doesn’t he look excited?!

So this ties in to my work on adaptations.

To give a brief idea:

I think adaptations are usually terrible.

I have an old article kicking around somewhere:

Adapting Dracula (Why Epistolary is a Four Letter Word) (Boucher 2015).

In it, I outline a lot of my concerns when it comes to adaptations.


  • The story works in whatever medium it originates (unless you are in a living medium like theatre, in which case you might be screwed)
  • The story may work (better) in another medium
  • Changes to the story are necessary to make it work in the new medium (books to film)
  • “faithful adaptation” is a meaningless phrase

I had a wonderful discussion with Bailey Boudreau, Artistic Director of Slipstream Theatre Initiative about adaptations the other day.

It boiled down to figuring out what made the theatre, at the time, immediate/important, what was the author attempting to do at the time of writing and attempt to do that in the time in which we currently live.

Now, I believe this has some thorny problems:

  1. You cannot argue objectively about history and therefore anything that occurred surrounding a theatrical piece has to be considered correlative, not causative
  2. And it is almost impossible to determine  what the author intended
  3. Therefore, any and all choices are still based in our own personal artistry.

I wrote an article consumed with the problem of author’s intent:

It boils down to:

  • The author intended something while writing
  • The art stands separate from the author (if it is good)
  • The art cannot stand separate from the audience’s interpretation
  • Therefore, what is our interpretation?

At the time I was working on Turn of the Screw by Henry James, which, unfortunately, never materialized.

Maybe a work for a later time.

But, I was later approached by Slipstream Theatre Initiative to help assist to direct, write, and produce their Penny Dreadfuls.

We had some brainstorming meetings and I threw in my hat hoping to direct and ended up writing for it instead.

I had no idea what I was doing, but was excited for the project.

The Penny Dreadfuls

In years past, the Penny Dreadfuls had been adapted from older sources (like much of Slipstream’s season).

Last year they had a carnivale feel where the production company (in the scenario) was performing in order to lure everyone into the back room so they could unleash a monster upon them. Much like Pippin!


This year, the talk was more of madness, transformation, and subtler things.

Immediately Metamorphosis jumped out at me, but I couldn’t say why.

It was always something that I wanted to work on, so I suggested it.

Luna, the lovely director said that she was excited and off we were to the races.

The Process

I feel I should be pretty explicit here:

I had no idea what I was doing.

I felt really awful for everyone around me. Much of my life I feel like I am bouncing off of walls people already told me were there. So there is that.

Anywho, a few weeks out from opening, I had neither solidified a script, nor cast, nor rehearsal, nor tech, nor anything. I was pretty boned. So I settled down to read the text.

The reading.

Anyone read Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis? 

If no, here is a really great Blog featuring synopsis and one of the best comic summaries EVER:

In it, Gregor awakes one morning to discover himself transformed into a giant vermin. That’s pretty much it. He wakes up and he is relatively okay with it.  His family kills him.

A lot of metaphors happen here about isolation, depression, anxiety, and dehumanization, but really that is it. He feels like a bug or some sort of monster and everyone treats him like one. His family still feeds him sure, but they are no longer sure it is him.

Eventually, through neglect and downright abuse, Gregor lies down one day and dies, leaving his family a little bit wealthier and a little bit happier.

The Realization

That is it! I really did not feel comfortable with it.

To be honest, I get really uneasy every time that I read the text.

I couldn’t say why when I was in high school, but something profoundly disturbs me about the family’s response to Gregor. He seems like such a nice bug. He loves and cares for his family. Why can they not recognize him? Why can they not see him for the the caring creature that he is?

And that is when it hit me:

The story is not Gregor’s…

The moment that I hit that realization I knew I had something.

Tadashi Suzuki writes beautifully in his The Way of Acting and other collected texts that in order to do justice to a production he tries to:

Tell the story from the most compelling perspective

OR: to put it another way:

Ask the question, “From whose perspective should this story be told?” 

He did this very famously in his Women of Troy, a play about the women mourning the sacking of Troy and the horror that they endure after its fall.

Now, remember the Trojan War lasted for ten years…

For ten years these women had already witnessed war literally at their gates.

Now, it was inside, running rampant and destroying their homes, their families….their babies.

Tadashi Suzuki, a masterful director, set the Trojan Women in the mouths of Japanese women in Japan…after the Holocaust.



Those women needed to tell this story in this way at this time.

I was so moved when I read what he did.

I cried.

On a New York City subway, I cried while reading a theatre book.

I was the crazy person that day.

(The photo isn’t from his acclaimed work, but it gets the sensation and it was directed by him La Dame aux Camelias)

So that question has stuck with me for years now.

  • “Whose story is it?”
  • “From whose perspective should this story be told?”

I had a clue from the final paragraph of the translation:

All the time, Grete was becoming livelier. With all the worry they had been having of late her cheeks had become pale, but, while they were talking, Mr. and Mrs. Samsa were struck, almost simultaneously, with the thought of how their daughter was blossoming into a well built and beautiful young lady. They became quieter. Just from each other’s glance and almost without knowing it they agreed that it would soon be time to find a good man for her. And, as if in confirmation of their new dreams and good intentions, as soon as they reached their destination Grete was the first to get up and stretch out her young body  (Kafka).


The argument could be made that it is the parents’ who are the aggressors in Gregor’s torment and the objectification of Grete at the end.

I think the case could be made and I know I certainly made it in high school.

However, upon further reflection, the setup between the two siblings could not be clearer in Kafka’s prose:

  1. Gregor: the lowly, virulent vermin, crawling across the floor, sticking to walls, hanging from the ceiling, feasting on refuse, collecting no income, sitting idle, or otherwise playing and becoming an unnecessary burden for the entire family
  2. Grete: the exact opposite, young, vibrant, musical, industrious, hard-working, jovial, and pleasant to see.

So that was the basis of my thought.

We have the one (did you know that the original title Die Verwandlung translates more literally to “transformation) transformation into beauty and the other into beast.

However, what to do with it now that I had my cornerstone.

The Concept

Considering the story from Grete’s perspective opened up a whole new avenue of ideas.

Of course she told Kafka’s Metamorphosis. She had spent the better part of a year, isolated in her own home, chained to caring for a beast that had almost certainly devoured her brother.

No wonder she had insisted on calling it “Gregor”. No wonder she wrote the whole story making “Gregor” as kind-hearted and well-meaning as humanly possible.

He is the closest thing we have to an existential saint.

It’s all a lie.

Grete told a lie to save her brother’s memory and very selfishly explain away the last year of her life.

With those ideas in mind, I started crafting a piece that was in that vein.

The Script

So the script was designed with Grete as the protagonist.

She would be the lens through which the audience would grasp the narrative.

She needed an adversary, Gregor would do.

Her parents proved too irresistible not to write into the narrative.

But, where/when would I set the action?

Dramatis Personae

GRETE: A youthful, vibrant young woman. She has been kept like a china doll by her mother, her father, and her brother. She is strong and curved like a violin.

GREGOR: He is dead. An enormous and virulent vermin. He begins transformed. There is no way to know what he was before.

FATHER: He is dead. A man lost and losing more of himself each and every day, but with a core of iron somewhere under his flabby exterior.

MOTHER: She is dead. There is not much to say of her. She loves her children. She is sad when they are gone.

The answer occurred to me after I wrote the character introductions: after the event.

Gregor is already dead.

So are her parents.

Everyone is dead save Grete, but the story still carries on.

It provided too many interesting things to play with.

  • Who was telling the story?
  • Only Grete?
  • How?
  • Who would play with her?
  • How would she get them to play?

All sorts of possibilities.

And we explored a few of them during rehearsal.

The production was really remarkable, but I have no artifacts to present here.

Only my words.

However, I was fortunate enough to be able to present my rough draft as a workshop performance last week at Young Fenix Fellowship.

I plan to host more, but the central question was:

Does the play work as a standalone piece and should it be expanded?

Overall, audience response was largely positive. I think there was some serious confusion based on the reading of the stage directions. I write lengthy stage directions that are meant to help more than they hinder. I don’t think I always succeed.

Take a look:

Excerpt from After the Transformation by Miles Boucher

There are hundreds of newspapers. All carefully arranged. They are in piles, in stacks by date and time and organized by geography. There is a system to this. It is a very complex, but comprehensive system to the person who made it, but to no one else. 

The newspapers wait. 

Enter Grete

She leaves

Enter Grete

She leaves

Enter Grete

She feels it. That was it.

She paces out the room. She takes its measure. This takes time. 

It is an (un)satisfactory room (depending on the day).  She works with it. She places herself in the ideal spot. She places the audience in the ideal spot. This takes time. 

She lays herself down for bed. This takes time. Perhaps she starts with a newspaper. Perhaps she doesn’t. She makes for herself a pillow, a bed, a sheet, etc.

When everything is perfect she begins:

GRETE: One morning,

She pauses to fix a corner.

One morning, when Gregor…

Did it move? No? Again.

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.





That was it.

Moving Forward

I think that I would like to rewrite it, cutting much of the superfluous stage directions while keeping the bare bones and see what is left.

Afterwards, there are at least a few moments that were and are definitely rushed as far as action goes.

Some of the scenes where Gregor kills his parents are really solid and tight, but I think there are moments to explore between the siblings.

How do you communicate with a wild animal and how long does it take?

Stuff like that.

So that is about where I am at with the piece. I am excited to keep workshopping it and continue to present it at YFF and elsewhere.

Anyway, that is my critique of my own work and an explanation of what I have been doing with my fall.

I hope you all enjoyed it!

Auf Wiedersehen!


Kafka, Franz. “Metamorphosis.” Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg, 13 May 2002. Web. 3 Dec. 2016.

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SO sad.

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