Surrealist modern fantasy in which Franz Kafka, miraculously saved from the tuberculosis that killed him, investigates the supernatural with the aid of a giant cockroach.
“Trust me,” the insect repeated. Franz did not.
What if Franz Kafka did not succumb to tuberculosis at the age of 40? What if he awoke the day after his supposed death to find himself attended by the giant insect he once imagined in his own story The Metamorphosis?
And what if he were recruited to investigate the bizarre circumstances surrounding a rash of mysterious hangings plaguing 1924 Vienna? Hangings that are possibly connected to an equally mysterious performer who commits suicide every night at the music hall (but cannot be connected to any crimes)?
The Hanging Artist leads the newly rehabilitated Franz Kafka on an absurdist round of discoveries, the solution of which is more fantastical than anything he imagined.
Jon Steinhagen is a Chicago-based author, playwright, actor, and musician. A collection of his stories, The Big Book of Sounds, was published in 2016 (Black Lawrence Press), which includes the story The Wind Catalog. Among his nationally and internationally produced plays and musicals are Blizzard 67, Successors, The Teapot Scandals, The Next Thing, the ACES trilogy, and Devil's Day Off. An alumni Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and current member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Jon has received many Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations for his work in Chicago theatre as either writer, actor, songwriter, or musical director. He received the Julie Harris Playwriting Award in 2009 for his comedy The Analytical Engine, and recently wrote the screenplays of From Within and The Buzzer System.