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Scena Theatre presents Franz Kafka’s Report to an Academy at the Edinburgh and Ukraine Fringe Festivals, August - September, 2023

Artistic Director McNamara returns to the stage in this riveting, one-man show that has garnered international acclaim.

Washington, DC, June 1, 2023  — The Directors of Scena Theatre launched their 35th Season with a third European Tour of Report to an Academy by Franz Kafka (Prague) and directed by the late Gabriele Jakobi (Germany). This tour comes after McNamara toured this play to three countries in 2022, namely England, Finland and Africa. Also, back in summer 2014, Scena first toured this show to London and Prague.

Report centers on the fascinating tale of an intelligent ape named Red Peter. He is captured in a West Africa hunting expedition and sent to Europe on a ship. On board in a cage, he endures excessive taunting and abuse by the sailors. To effect his survival, Red Peter learns to mimic and imitate the ship’s crew and their language from his cage. By evolving to behave like a human being, he devises a brilliant escape. Ultimately, he survives and reaches civilization to present his fascinating tale of transformation—and the horrid details of his former ape life—to a leading Scientific Academy. 

Robert McNamara’s heartfelt and powerful performance brings this wild parable to life. It compels patrons to ponder the social issues of free will, animal rights, vegetarianism and the meaning of life. Report was first staged to sold-out houses in Washington, DC’s 2014 Capital Fringe Festival in the USA. Soon after, it toured Europe and was presented at the Prague Fringe Festival in the Czech Republic and at the English Theatre Berlin in Germany. 

Acclaimed German director Gabriele Jakobi (1952-2023), who passed away in January 2023, adapted the classic Franz Kafka short story, written in German, into a provocative drama featuring her husband, American actor/director Robert McNamara (Scena’s Artistic Director). Jakobi, a native of Germany, enjoyed an illustrious career as a director in her home country, the Netherlands and the US. Her production of Heinrich von Kleist’s Penthesilea was declared "Best Production of the Year” by Theater Heute, the major German theatre magazine. Jakobi also won best production at the Monoplay Festival in Kiel, Germany for Krapp’s Last Tape. Edinburgh Fringe is proud to present this thoughtful, one-man play that lasts 55 minutes.

Edinburgh Fringe: August 4-13, 15-20, 22-27 | 20:10 pm (BST)

ZOO Southside, 117 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, Scotland


Ukraine Fringe: August 31 - September 3 | 20:10 pm (BST)

Festival for the Brave, Kiev, Ukraine


Critical Acclaim:

“McNamara keeps the audience entranced; every word is rich with the character's unique perspective.” 

—Washington City Paper 

“It’s a bravura performance by McNamara...shockingly sad as well as funny.” 

—The Georgetowner 

“Stimulating and entertaining...McNamara's role is as demanding for him as it is rewarding for the audience.” 

—DC Metro Theatre Arts 

“I was riveted by this performance. This one-man show is completely engaging. McNamara never misses a beat.” 

— Prague Fringe Radio

“From the moment Robert McNamara limps across the stage, he is anguished and triumphant in equal measure.” 

—London Theatre Weekly

“This is such a rare occasion to see this insane and moving story played by a veteran actor that it may never be seen again!! Don’t miss this chance. SEE IT!”  

—Steven Berkoff (UK actor, director, playwright)

“Persistent Intensity…done very well. McNamara is wholly believable as the ape.” 


A short, sardonic, bitter story that comes alive in this telling of it”  

—London Pub Theatres

"The acting from McNamara and the direction by Jakobi is excellent."


“McNamara holds the audience’s attention, a slightly menacing presence.”  


“Unexpectedly riveting, thanks to an utterly compelling performance by McNamara.” 


Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Franz Kafka hails from Prague, Kingdom of Bohemia and is a German-language author of novels and short stories. He is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century, yet only found notoriety after he died. Kafka’s works are filled with themes of alienation, and his characters often venture on a terrifying quest. Some endure physical and psychological torture. His writing greatly influenced the genre of existentialism—and the phrase “Kafkaesque” has become part of the American lexicon. Scena’s Robert McNamara is so fond of Kafka’s imagination that he has adapted several of his works for the stage over several decades. Robert produced The Kafka Parables adapted by Otho Eskin and The Trial in 2005 with a large ensemble featuring Christopher Henley and Svetlana Tikhonov. He has also staged several workshops of his stories including Metamorphosis and Report to an Academy. This one-man drama, adapted by Berlin’s Gabriele Jakobi, is the culmination of Gabriele’s and McNamara’s fascination with this great storyteller. 

SCENA Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please Click on the “About” link on the left menu.