Josef K. awakes on his 30th birthday and is informed by a pair of unidentified agents that he is guilty of a crime that is not named. Josef is also not informed who the agents are working for, nor is he detained; free to continue his life, Josef keeps encountering strange incidents while he tries to arrange for his defense. One day he sees his two accusers being whipped in the street because they were willing to accept bribes — and then he encounters them a day later, again being whipped by the same mysterious man. Is it all an attempt to intimidate him, or is the court this strict in its adherence to the law? Josef's uncle arranges a meeting with a well-connected attorney, but the man is long-winded and impotent. Only his friend, the painter Titorelli, has a good handle on the case: "You see, everything belongs to the court," the artist tells Josef, and he seems to be correct. Franz Kafka's The Trialis a nightmarish parable about the grinding, impersonal nature of bureaucracy. Stray Dog Theatre presents Kenneth Albers stage adaptation of the novel at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (April 23 through May 9) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; 314-865-1995 or www.straydogtheatre.org). Tickets are $18 to $20.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: April 23. Continues through May 9, 2009