All students, faculty, and staff are invited to a performance and investigation
April 20-21, 2021

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, UTM; the Jackman Humanities Institute; the Department of English and Drama at UTM; the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa; the Laboratory for Kinetic Objects at the University of the Western Cape; and the Centre for the Less Good Idea

A man walking with a wooden cane and briefcase.

As an end-of-the-year celebration, we are delighted to present a livestreamed performance of Kafka’s Ape from Johannesburg, South Africa, and several discussions and workshops with the creators, director Phala Ookeditse Phala and actor Tony Miyambo, currently Artist in Residence at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape.

Kafka’s Ape is an internationally renowned adaptation of Czech author Franz Kafka’s short story, “A Report to an Academy,” set in post-apartheid South Africa. In Kafka’s text, an ape named Red Peter presents the tale of how he learned to imitate humanity in order to assimilate and survive. In this version, which centres Black South African artists and their experiences, Phala and Miyambo highlight the complexities of identity in the twenty-first century and invite us to explore, through an animal’s gaze, the relationship between self and other.

All events are one hour in length unless otherwise noted.

You can view a greeting from Phala and Miyambo to the University of Toronto here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tklo-tERIfc&ab_channel=LSwitzkyUTM
You can read Kafka’s short story (translated into English from German) here:


11am – Kafka’s Ape (livestreamed from Johannesburg, South Africa)

Directed and adapted by Phala Ookeditse Phala
Performed by Tony Miyambo

Viewer discretion advisory: This performance addresses internalized anti-Black racism and the history of apartheid and post-apartheid in South Africa. If you find yourself in need of emotional support, a list of mental health resources and helplines is available here: https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/mental-health-supports/welcome
Please register to attend here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/kafkas-ape-tickets-15011040927
You will receive a viewing link prior to the performance
You can read more about the production and history of Kafka’s Ape here

1pm—Roundtable Discussion of Kafka’s Ape with the creators and UofT professors and artists

Featuring: Monika Havelka (Associate Professor of Geography, Geomatics, and Environment, UTM)
Rohan Kulkarni (Graduate Student, Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, University of Toronto)
Matthew Mackenzie (Artistic Director of Punctuate! Theatre and Baillie Artistic Fellow at Soulpepper Theatre Company)
John Noyes (Professor of German, UTSG, Extraordinary Professor, Stellenbosch University)

This event will have auto-captions available
University of Toronto community members and the public are welcome to attend. Please register to attend here: https://uoft.me/roundtableApril20


11am—“Forms of Encounter: Exploding the Artist Talk”

Faculty and graduate students are invited to attend a performative lecture and discussion with Phala and Miyambo about the role of the artist in the university, conducted by the Co-Creation Laboratory at UTM.

University of Toronto Faculty and Graduate Students can register to attend here: https://utoronto.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlcemsqj8rE9G26rwRmMWwbVQbzsYbdWco

1pm—“Workshop on acting with/animating objects, props, and puppets”

Undergraduate students are invited to take part in this interactive workshop, conducted by Phala and Miyambo, on acting with objects, props, and puppets. Participants will be asked to prepare a space in which they can move around easily and will be sent a list of everyday objects to have on hand before the workshop begins. This workshop is limited to thirty participants. If you are unable to register and wish to be placed on a waiting list, please contact lawrence.switzky@utoronto.ca.

University of Toronto students can register to take part here: https://utoronto.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpc-itrD4uHdf-SrQzLs83uQIePbVdJbWJ