Photos by Erin, Cao Cong
“If it tempts you so much, try it in spite of my prohibition. But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other.”
-- Before the Law Franz Kafka
Before the Law
Venue: The Others / Royal Central School Speech and Drama, London
Date: March / May 2018
© 2018 Congcong Cao. All Rights Reserved.
Director/Deviser: Cao Cong
Deviser/Performer: Ewa Limanówka,
Live Musician: Cos Chapman
Lighting: Jack Hathaway
About Before the Law
The idea for this performance is inspired by and developed from, Franz Kafka’s novel - ‘Before the Law’: A man comes from the country and prays for admittance to the Law, but a doorkeeper stands at the gate to the Law. Before passing he needs to receive the permission to enter. Beyond that gate is another and another, each with a gatekeeper more powerful than the last. He ‘equips himself well for his journey, used everything he has, no matter how valuable, to bribe the doorkeeper.’ Gate by gate he spends his own life to get the permission to get the Law, but he does not get there until he dies.
In this piece, ‘Before the Law’ is a durational performance that explores its performance text through the interaction between body, space, materials and the text itself. Most of the performance presents a series of actions - movements of the performer - which happens ‘before the law’, and it is the ‘before’ that the performance is mostly about.
 Franz Kalka - ‘Before the Law’