Its been our experience that any time a writer can be compared to Franz Kafka, he will be. Take Kobe Abe: he was compared to Kafka so often that he became known as the Japanese Kafka, which must have made him feel like every day was his birthday. He was also compared heartily to Beckett, which is just as good. His go-to themes were isolation, identity, the public vs. the private, and alienation. He was also nicely surreal: His plots include a man who turns into a stick, a man who lives in a box, a man who replaces his face, a man who lives in the dunes, and a man who has radish sprouts growing off his legs, which he snacks on. In Abes 1967 play Friends, which is being staged in a venue that appropriately did not exist until now, a man finds a strange family on his doorstep; they move in, babbling about the social good, intent on curing the man of his loneliness. Like Joseph K before the court of Inquiry, it does not end well at all.
Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 5. Continues through Nov. 21, 2008