GEDS and International Drama Festivals 2019 by Tim Hancox


GEDS can pardonably claim to have the best current amateur one-acter play in Europe for the 2019 season. How’s that? Well, we came second in FEATS (Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies) in Munich in June, were offered and accepted a resulting invitation to BAWF (British All Winners Festival) for July and won that. Overall, we collected five trophies:

British All Winners Festival, Woking, England July 2019

Best Play Award one-act play festival
Best Comedy Moment as the family saw the transformation of Gregor as the Bug

Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies (FEATS), Munich 2019

Centennial Award for 2nd Place
Best Actor Award, Gabriel Bird for his role as Gregor
Best Actress Award, Masha Neznansky for her role as Momma


GEDS’ offering was our own member Gary Bird’s Metamorphosis or Letting Nature Take its Course, adapted for the stage from Franz Kafka’s novel of the same name, and which turned itself into a fast-paced farce: Gary admits to being a little surprised himself. Directed by himself and then by Berta Adell when it became necessary that he take an acting part, it entertained audiences in Geneva (original launch in May as part of a charity evening at Le Manège, Onex), Munich and Woking, thanks to skilled ensemble work by the whole team including backstage, the patient truckies who trundled the set (hard-worked and gently disintegrating!) across Europe, and some excellent logistical planning overall. On our last evening and awards in Woking, BAWF’s surely beneficial permanent Patron Sir Derek Jacobi gave an excellent speech before awarding the prizes (allocated, nevertheless, by an independent – and as always extremely well informed and competent – Adjudicator, Jill Colby).

The storyline? Somewhat improbably (but quite famously now, thanks to Kafka) Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning (late for work as an insurance salesman) and discovers he has transmogrified into a giant bug, the joke being that he does not realise this, despite his claws being unable to get his pants up, whereas his family, boss, everyone else, is horrified, with reactions varying between wanting to kill “it”, make a fortune (Poppa Samsa) by putting a singing/dancing bug live on stage or turn “it” back into a human with the help of the local lady-of-leisure. Gregor speaks “bug” which no-one else except the summoned “bug doctor” can understand but we get both sides of the conversations. All this and with an evil Narrator thinking he is masterminding developments; it all ends “happily ever after” with the resuscitated Gregor deciding to become an accountant instead.