Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Columbia Workshop
Show: The Trial
Date: May 19 1946

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
NARRATOR
JOSEPH K.
FRANZ
WILLEM
INSPECTOR
MISS B.
VOICE, on the phone
ATTENDANT, at the law court
MAGISTRATE
SOMEONE, in the crowd (1 line)
1ST LITIGANT (1 line)
2ND LITIGANT (1 line)
3RD LITIGANT
UNCLE
ADVOCATE H.
CHAPLAIN
COURTROOM CROWD

ANNOUNCER:

The Columbia Workshop, radio's foremost laboratory of new writing and production techniques, presents "The Trial" by Franz Kafka.

Today, for the first time on the air in the United States, the Workshop broadcasts an adaptation of a work by a remarkable Czechoslovakian writer named Franz Kafka who died in 1924. Kafka is remarkable for the uncanny way in which his stories deeply foreshadow the disturbing events of the last few years in Europe. "The Trial," which Kafka wrote years before the Nazis came to power, predicts the nightmare of such secret organizations as the Gestapo and tells of courts of law which have ceased to be courts of justice.

This story's been adapted for the Columbia Workshop by Davidson Taylor, with an original musical score by Bernard Herrmann to be conducted by Alexander Semmler.

Franz Kafka's "The Trial," with Karl Swenson as Joseph K. and produced for the Columbia Workshop by Guy della Cioppa.

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

Someone - someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning. His landlady, Mrs. G., who always brought him breakfast at eight o'clock, failed to appear on this occasion. This had never happened before. K. waited a little while longer and then, feeling "put out" and hungry...

SOUND:

BELL RINGS

NARRATOR:

...he rang the bell.

SOUND:

BELL RINGS ... DOOR OPENS

FRANZ:

Did you ring?

JOSEPH K.:

(SURPRISED) Wha--? Who are you?

FRANZ:

I say, did you ring?

JOSEPH K.:

Well, Mrs. G. is to bring me my breakfast.

FRANZ:

(CALLS TO WILLEM) He says Mrs. G. is to bring him his breakfast.

WILLEM:

(OFF, LAUGHS HEARTILY) It can't be done!

JOSEPH K.:

Wha--? The insolence! (CALLS) Mrs. G.? Mrs. G.?!

FRANZ:

She can't come just now. And I wouldn't try to leave your bedroom if I were you.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, I shall neither stay here nor let you address me until you have introduced yourself.

WILLEM:

(APPROACHES) You must stay in your bedroom, Joseph K. Didn't Franz tell you that?

JOSEPH K.:

Oh, so his name is Franz. Well, what's your name? And what are you doing here? I'm going to get Mrs. G. and have you shown out.

WILLEM:

Oh, no, you don't. And you can't go out. You're arrested.

JOSEPH K.:

Arrested? Arrested? What on earth for?

WILLEM:

We're not authorized to tell you that. You will go to your bedroom and wait there until sent for.

JOSEPH K.:

Where is your warrant?

WILLEM:

He wants to see a paper! (LAUGHS)

FRANZ:

(LAUGHS)

JOSEPH K.:

Why am I arrested? I demand to know.

WILLEM:

Proceedings have been instituted against you. You will be informed of everything in due course. I am exceeding my authority in speaking to you as freely as this.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, I can't imagine what your "authority" can be. This is a country with a legal constitution and all the laws are in force. This is a time of peace. I am a citizen. How can I be under arrest? Particularly in such a ridiculous fashion. Here, show me your identification papers.

WILLEM:

Do you think you'll bring this fine case of yours to a speedy conclusion by wrangling with us -- your warders -- over papers and warrants? We're nothing but subordinates but we know enough to realize that our officials are well-enough informed about you. Otherwise, they would not have arrested you. Our officials, as the law decrees, never hunt for crime but, as the law decrees, the guilty are drawn toward the law. That is when we're sent out to make arrests.

JOSEPH K.:

I have never heard of this kind of law.

WILLEM:

You've heard of it now, Joseph K. And you'll hear of it again.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

FRANZ:

All right, Joseph K. The inspector will see you now.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, it's about time.

FRANZ:

Here he is, inspector.

INSPECTOR:

Uh huh.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

INSPECTOR:

(SLOWLY) Joseph K.?

JOSEPH K.:

That's my name.

INSPECTOR:

You are presumably very much surprised at the events of the morning.

JOSEPH K.:

Why, certainly, inspector. Certainly I'm surprised. But I - I can't say that I - I was very much surprised.

INSPECTOR:

Not very much surprised? Just what do you mean by that?

JOSEPH K.:

Well, I rather thought that this whole thing might be a little joke.

INSPECTOR:

Oh, you thought it was a joke, did you?

JOSEPH K.:

Yes. I-- (UNSURE) Well, now, uh, seriously, it - it can't be an affair of any great importance. Now, I argue this from the fact that though I'm accused of something, I cannot recall the slightest offense that might be charged against me.

INSPECTOR:

Can't you? Think.

JOSEPH K.:

No, I really can't. (BEAT) Now, see here, inspector, I think I am at least entitled to know what the charge against me is. (NO RESPONSE) What is it?!

INSPECTOR:

Joseph K., you are laboring under a great delusion. Perhaps you think that because Franz and Willem here -- and I, too -- have no uniforms, that we're not entitled to arrest you. Well, we are and we've done so. But even I don't know whether you are charged with an offense. All I know is that you are arrested.

JOSEPH K.:

Oh, see here. This is sheer nonsense! May I be permitted to call the manager of my bank?

INSPECTOR:

I don't see any use in that since you're going to work in a few minutes anyway.

JOSEPH K.:

How can I, if I'm under arrest?

INSPECTOR:

You are under arrest. But that need not hinder your going to work. Not now, at any rate.

JOSEPH K.:

(PLACATED) Oh. Well, then, being arrested by you isn't so bad.

INSPECTOR:

You think not?

JOSEPH K.:

(LIGHTLY) Well, since I can go on about my work-- (CHUCKLES) Well, why did you take the trouble to tell me I was arrested?

INSPECTOR:

It was my duty.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, it's a very stupid duty.

INSPECTOR:

Be that as it may, I should like to warn you that there will be those at the bank who will be watching you. You may talk to anyone you like but, remember, you do not know who is your friend and who is ours.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

NARRATOR:

For some time, he walked the streets alone.

SOUND:

JOSEPH K.'S FOOTSTEPS ON SIDEWALK, IN BG

NARRATOR:

But he could not see anyone following him. He reached his boarding house at half past eleven.

SOUND:

DOOR UNLOCKS, OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS IN

NARRATOR:

And when he let himself into the dark hallway...

SOUND:

DOOR SHUTS ... JOSEPH K.'S FOOTSTEPS WALK DOWN HALLWAY, IN BG

NARRATOR:

...he saw a figure of a woman and thought it was a fellow lodger.

SOUND:

JOSEPH K.'S FOOTSTEPS STOP

JOSEPH K.:

(CALLS) Uh, Miss B.?

MISS B.:

(OFF, STARTLED) Oh! Who is it? (MOVING CLOSER) It's so dark here in the hall--

JOSEPH K.:

Well, it's I. Er, Joseph K.

MISS B.:

I'm sorry I didn't recognize you at first.

JOSEPH K.:

I, uh, I'd like to talk to you if you're not too tired. I realize that it's very late.

MISS B.: Here in the hall isn't a very good place, is it?

JOSEPH K.:

Would you come into my rooms with me, uh, for just a moment?

MISS B.:

Certainly not. You must remember that I scarcely know you at all. Couldn't what you have to say wait until tomorrow?

JOSEPH K.:

You are a secretary in a law office, aren't you?

MISS B.:

Yes, I am. Why?

JOSEPH K.:

Well, uh, today, I was arrested.

MISS B.:

Arrested?

JOSEPH K.:

Mm hm.

MISS B.:

And you're free already? What were you arrested for?

JOSEPH K.:

Well, I don't know. You see, that's why I wanted to talk to you.

MISS B.:

Was there an "interrogation commission" here, with men not wearing uniforms?

JOSEPH K.:

(SURPRISED) Why-- Yes. How did you know?

MISS B.:

(SYMPATHETIC) Oh, that's bad.

JOSEPH K.:

Why do you say that? To me, it seemed that it couldn't possibly have been serious.

MISS B.:

Oh, but it was. I've heard the advocate for whom I work speak of such cases often. And I even know a few of his clients who are involved in cases such as yours.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, have you any advice that you could give me?

MISS B.:

Listen, I ought not to be here in the hallway talking to you in the dark at such a late hour. I must go now. (LOW VOICE) But - promise me one thing. If you decide to retain an advocate, let me know. I'll introduce you to Mr. H.

JOSEPH K.:

(HESITANT) Well, that is very kind of you but, uh, I don't want anyone to be associated with me now that I'm involved in this case. I - I feel alone and I hardly want anybody to share it with me.

MISS B.:

(LOW) You can count on me. (LOUDER) Oh, I ought not to be saying this to you. I hardly know you. (LOW, VERY INTERESTED) But, before I go, tell me a little more about what the interrogation was like.

JOSEPH K.:

What it was like? (PAUSE) It was horrible. Horrible.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP

JOSEPH K.:

Hello?

VOICE:

(FILTER) Is this Joseph K.?

JOSEPH K.:

Yes. To whom am I speaking, please?

VOICE:

(FILTER) Joseph K., tomorrow is Sunday.

JOSEPH K.:

Who is this?

VOICE:

(FILTER) Tomorrow, a short inquiry into your case will take place.

JOSEPH K.:

I insist on knowing who is speaking.

VOICE:

(FILTER) Tomorrow morning at ten o'clock, you are to be at Nine X Street. Of course, I don't need to remind you that you must appear without fail. You must be on time.

JOSEPH K.:

I shall certainly not be there unless you tell me who you are and by what authority you make this demand.

VOICE:

(FILTER) The address is Nine X Street.

SOUND:

LINE IS DISCONNECTED

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

NARRATOR:

"The guilty are drawn toward the law." That was what the warder Willem had said when he arrested Joseph K. Next morning, almost without realizing it, Joseph K. found himself at Nine X Street. Since he did not know for whom to ask, he invented a carpenter called L. and asked for him at every room on every floor, until he reached the top floor of the building.

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR ... DOOR OPENS TO REVEAL BUZZ OF COURTROOM CROWD WHICH CONTINUES IN BG

JOSEPH K.:

Um, is there a carpenter named L. who lives here?

ATTENDANT:

Please come in.

JOSEPH K.:

(SURPRISED, HESITANT) Well, I - I'm, uh-- I'm looking for a carpenter. Named L.

ATTENDANT:

I know. Come right in. There are a few people here already.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

ATTENDANT:

(CALLS) Here he is!

SOUND:

CROWD REACTS ... GAVEL BANGS THREE TIMES ... CROWD QUIETS

MAGISTRATE:

(OFF) You are late! You should have been here an hour and five minutes ago!

JOSEPH K.:

Whether I'm late or not, I'm here now.

SOUND:

CROWD LAUGHS

MAGISTRATE:

(OFF) Will you kindly step to the platform?

SOUND:

JOSEPH K.'S FOOTSTEPS TO PLATFORM

MAGISTRATE:

Now, then, sir, sit down. You are a house painter, I believe?

JOSEPH K.:

I certainly am not. I'm an officer of a very prominent bank and my name is Joseph K.

SOUND:

CROWD LAUGHS ... GAVEL BANGS THREE TIMES ... CROWD QUIETS

MAGISTRATE:

(TO THE CROWD) There will be no more laughter at this examination.

JOSEPH K.:

This - this question of yours, about my being a house painter, is typical of the whole character of this absurd trial being foisted on me.

SOUND:

CROWD REACTS

JOSEPH K.:

What has happened to me is so unimportant as to be ludicrous. But it is possible that other people have been subjected to the same treatment as I. Now, it's possible that other men have been "arrested" -- as you call it -- in their own homes, for a nameless reason, and summoned to an inquiry by a nameless voice speaking over the telephone. (BEAT) Well, it's for the other men I speak, not myself. (BEAT) By what authority do you do these things? How do you dare do them in this law-abiding country?

SOMEONE:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) Bravo! Why not?! Bravo!

SOUND:

CROWD REACTS

JOSEPH K.:

I know - I know there must be some sort of organization in back of you or you wouldn't dare go to such lengths. But that organization must, in its upper limits, be at least somewhat corrupt. Or else it would not invade the homes of innocent men and lay upon them secret charges which are not even stated. I will not be interrogated and I intend to report this entire matter to the officials.

SOUND:

CROWD REACTS

MAGISTRATE:

Joseph K., in a moment, you may go. But, before you go, I should like you to know that everyone here today is an official. (TO THE CROWD) Are you not officials?

SOUND:

CROWD VOICES AGREEMENT

MAGISTRATE:

(TO JOSEPH K.) Turn and look at the audience assembled here. Turn around, look at them. (BEAT) Now, I'm going to ask that every man here will turn back his lapel.

SOUND:

LAPELS TURNED BACK

MAGISTRATE:

There. Do you see? Do you see those badges?

JOSEPH K.:

(PAUSE) Yes. I see them.

MAGISTRATE:

Take a good look at them. And remember that such a badge as that may be under the lapel of any man you meet. On the street, in your waiting room, in your boarding house, on the bus, at the theater, on the stairs. Joseph K., you may go now.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

NARRATOR:

Joseph K. had never seen before any badges like those which he saw that Sunday morning. Nevertheless, he did not report to the authorities. First, because there was no charge against him. Second, because he was a free man. And, third, because he did not know whether the court where he had been was in league with the authorities or against them.

Days passed. A week. And then a month. Joseph K. felt overpowered by curiosity to know what was going on at the Court of Inquiry. So, at ten on a Sunday morning, he reached the head of the stairs at Nine X Street and came face-to-face with the law court attendant.

ATTENDANT:

Oh, hello. Well, you'd better go away. There's no sitting today. You want me to give the examining magistrate any message?

JOSEPH K.:

Uh, why? Do you know him well?

ATTENDANT:

Oh, not well. I - I wouldn't say that.

JOSEPH K.:

Oh.

ATTENDANT:

I sweep out here, that's all.

JOSEPH K.:

I see. Uh, well, I - I, er, I want you to take me to see him.

ATTENDANT:

Oh, you - you talk like that was easy. You say you want to see the examining magistrate?

JOSEPH K.:

Mm hm.

ATTENDANT:

As though, I -- who sweep out the courtroom -- could get you to him. (LOW VOICE) I'll tell you where he lives, though. He lives in his offices, right up that little flight of stairs -- in the attic of this building.

JOSEPH K.:

Oh. Well, I'm going up and find him.

ATTENDANT:

Wait, wait. I'll come with you.

SOUND:

THEIR FOOTSTEPS UP STAIRS

ATTENDANT:

Let me open the door.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

1ST LITIGANT:

Mr. Attendant? Mr. Attendant, would you be so kind as to give this note to my judge when you see him?

2ND LITIGANT:

I don't dare leave here for an instant for fear the judge might pass by.

3RD LITIGANT:

Have any of the officials asked about me?

ATTENDANT:

Quiet. Quiet, everybody. This is a new litigant. You don't want to make him nervous, do you? Here, you old fellow with the long beard, how long has your case been going on?

3RD LITIGANT:

Heh. I don't know, sir.

ATTENDANT:

Well, come on, tell the gentleman how long your case has been going on.

3RD LITIGANT:

For twenty-five years. I think.

ATTENDANT:

Sh! Sh! Don't talk so loud. There are officials behind every one of those doors.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, I don't care about the officials. Uh, tell me, old man, what are you charged with?

3RD LITIGANT:

If you please, sir, the Attendant said you were a litigant and I feel deeply for you, sir. You haven't seen as much of these courts as I have, sir. But if you were an official, I still couldn't tell you, just now, what I'm charged with. It's so hard to remember.

JOSEPH K.:

But-- Well, you can't have been hanging around the law courts for all those twenty-five years without ever finding out what the charge against you was!

3RD LITIGANT:

You--

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS, OFF

MAGISTRATE:

(OFF) What's all this noise?! (CLOSER) Oh. Oh, it's you, Joseph K.

JOSEPH K.:

Yes. I demand to speak to you.

MAGISTRATE:

Oh, you demand to speak to me now, do you?

JOSEPH K.:

Yes, I demand it. May I come into your office?

MAGISTRATE:

You may not.

JOSEPH K.:

Why not? I'm entitled to know what's happening to my case.

MAGISTRATE:

Listen to me, Joseph K. After all the contempt you have shown for us, I should not be even this lenient with you. But understand this. I have nothing further to do with your case. I know nothing else about your case. Now, get out. (BEAT) Get out of here, I tell you. Get out. Get out!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

NARRATOR:

Joseph K. tried to put all thoughts of his case from him. There was no further summons. And, though he sometimes thought he caught glimpses of his warders, Franz and Willem, when he glanced over his shoulder in a crowd -- he was not sure. One day, when he was in his office at the bank...

SOUND:

OFFICE DOOR OPENS ... UNCLE'S FOOTSTEPS IN

NARRATOR:

...the door burst open...

SOUND:

OFFICE DOOR SHUTS

NARRATOR:

...and in strolled his uncle from the country.

SOUND:

UNCLE'S FOOTSTEPS STOP

UNCLE:

Joseph? Joseph, I must speak with you at once.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, hello, uncle. Certainly you may speak with me. Go right ahead.

UNCLE:

May I speak freely here?

JOSEPH K.:

Certainly. Why not?

UNCLE:

What is this I hear about a trial?

JOSEPH K.:

A trial? What trial?

UNCLE:

Just as I came into the anteroom to your office, I heard two men there, talking, quite openly, and one of them said, "I'm sorry that we had to be assigned to the trial of Joseph K." Joseph, what have you done?

JOSEPH K.:

(AMUSED) Uncle! You're as bad as the officials themselves. What do you think I could have done and still be free?

UNCLE:

Tell me, did the men who arrested you wear uniforms?

JOSEPH K.:

No.

UNCLE:

And you do not know just what authority arrested you?

JOSEPH K.:

Uncle, how do you know all these things?

UNCLE:

The advocate H. is one of my closest friends. His secretary -- a girl named Miss B. -- heard him speak of me and saw a letter from me in which I mentioned you. So she wrote to me and begged me to persuade you to retain H. as your legal advisor in this matter.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, then there really are advocates who handle this kind of case?

UNCLE:

Oh, yes, yes. And H. is one of the best of them. Will you go with me?

JOSEPH K.:

Yes. Yes, uncle, I will.

UNCLE:

Joseph, before we go to see the advocate, let me ask you once again. Are you an innocent man?

JOSEPH K.:

Uncle, I - I believe that I am innocent. But you'll not find it possible to understand that sometimes -- as when you told me just now about that conversation in the anteroom -- I ask myself if it might not be possible that, in some sense, I am guilty.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

ADVOCATE H.:

It is eleven months since your uncle first brought you in to see me, Joseph K. Heretofore, I have not told you what the possible verdicts may be.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, I want to know them. I want to know the worst that can happen.

ADVOCATE H.:

You know that, at my advanced age, I have abandoned my regular practice to handle just such cases as yours.

JOSEPH K.:

Uh huh.

ADVOCATE H.:

All my life long, such cases have interested me deeply and I have handled many of them. But never in my life have I known these law courts to give a definitive acquittal.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, but, surely, some of the men were innocent.

ADVOCATE H.:

That is possible. I don't dispute that. But it is also possible that all of them were guilty.

JOSEPH K.:

But if no definite acquittal is possible, what other verdicts can there be?

ADVOCATE H.:

Well, there is ostensible acquittal.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, what's that?

ADVOCATE H.:

In ostensible acquittal, the accused makes an affidavit of his innocence which is circulated to all the judges.

JOSEPH K.:

Oh.

ADVOCATE H.:

If a sufficient number of judges approve it, the affidavit is given to the judge in charge of your case. He may then, on the responsibility of the other judges, free you.

JOSEPH K.:

And that is the end of it?

ADVOCATE H.:

No, not at all. Any judge who has not signed the papers may, at any time, have you arrested again. Then the process is to be gone through all over again.

JOSEPH K.:

Why - why haven't you told me this before?

ADVOCATE H.:

Do you want to make an affidavit of your innocence now? I'll be glad to circulate it.

JOSEPH K.:

No, no. No, I don't believe I want to make an affidavit. Not just now. It - seems so hopeless.

ADVOCATE H.:

Well, it probably is just as well -- particularly since we don't know right at the moment which judge has taken over your case. If, indeed, it has been transferred.

JOSEPH K.:

What other possible verdict can there be besides definitive acquittal and ostensible acquittal?

ADVOCATE H.:

There is indefinite postponement.

JOSEPH K.:

What does that involve?

ADVOCATE H.:

It involves keeping your case in the lower courts. Keeping it from getting past the first stages. And that is what I have been doing so far. I have already explained that definitive acquittal is not open to you. You must choose between ostensible acquittal and postponement.

JOSEPH K.:

(EXHALES) I - I must be alone to think. (SIGHS) I think I'll go into the cathedral and stand in the middle of the building. I must be alone. It's so hard for me to feel that I'm alone -- and not being watched.

ADVOCATE H.:

You will tell me your decision as to which course you want to pursue.

JOSEPH K.:

(SIGHS) Well, what I want to hear is all the judges saying to me, "Joseph K., you are an innocent man. We give you definitive acquittal."

ADVOCATE H.:

You will never hear them say that.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

NARRATOR:

From the middle of the cathedral, Joseph K. could see it was deserted. No one had followed him into the church. No one was there when he arrived. No one appeared except a man, dressed as a priest, who walked slowly to the pulpit. And, mounting it as though the time had come to preach a sermon, turned and faced the empty house.

CHAPLAIN:

Joseph K.

JOSEPH K.:

(GASPS, WHISPERS TO HIMSELF) No. No. That can't be. I must get out of here.

SOUND:

JOSEPH K.'S HURRIED FOOTSTEPS

JOSEPH K.: (WHISPERS TO HIMSELF) I must get out of here.

CHAPLAIN:

Joseph K., I command you to stop!

SOUND:

JOSEPH K.'S FOOTSTEPS SLOW TO A STOP

CHAPLAIN:

Come here and stand beneath the pulpit.

SOUND:

JOSEPH K.'S SLOW FOOTSTEPS TO THE PULPIT, IN BG

JOSEPH K.:

How did you know my name? (NO ANSWER) Are you also one of the officials of the law courts?

CHAPLAIN:

Your name is Joseph K.?

JOSEPH K.:

Yes.

SOUND:

JOSEPH K.'S FOOTSTEPS SLOW TO A STOP BEHIND--

CHAPLAIN:

You are an accused man.

JOSEPH K.:

Yes. Or so I've been informed.

CHAPLAIN:

Then you are the man I seek.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, how could you seek me? I - I came here to have quiet.

CHAPLAIN:

All your comings and goings are known. Your case is going badly.

JOSEPH K.:

Yes, I know.

CHAPLAIN:

Do you know of what you are accused?

JOSEPH K.:

No. Can you tell me that?

CHAPLAIN:

And you are innocent? (NO ANSWER) Well? Are you innocent?

JOSEPH K.:

I - I told you. I don't even know of what I've been accused. (SIGHS) Why should you torment me? (NO ANSWER) Answer me one thing. Are you an official?

CHAPLAIN:

I am prison chaplain to the condemned men.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, then there's a prison. Where is it?

CHAPLAIN:

You are not yet a condemned man. But I fear your case will end badly -- you are held to be guilty. Even though your case may never get beyond the lower court, your guilt is considered proved.

JOSEPH K.:

Are you prejudiced against me? If you are, what is the verdict that's been decided against me?

CHAPLAIN:

I am not prejudiced against you. And I do not know whether a verdict has been pronounced.

JOSEPH K.:

But you-- Can't you come down from the pulpit and talk to me?

CHAPLAIN:

No. I must stay above you. But I have actually read the law and I will tell you a parable which is told of the preamble to the law. (RECITES) A man went to the court and there he met a great doorkeeper on guard. The man begged admittance to the law. But the doorkeeper said he could not be admitted at the moment. So the man sat and waited for many years and, at length, he noted a strange thing. So he asked the doorkeeper, "How does it happen that during all the long years I have sat here, no one else has begged admittance to this door?" And the doorkeeper replied, "This door was made for you alone. And now I am going to close it."

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

NARRATOR:

That night, while Joseph K. was sitting in his room, two men entered without knocking.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

JOSEPH K.:

Oh. Franz and Willem.

WILLEM:

That's right. We have come for you.

JOSEPH K.:

I was almost expecting you.

FRANZ:

We shall have to lock our arms through yours.

JOSEPH K.:

I don't see why that's necessary.

WILLEM:

It is necessary.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS OF FRANZ, WILLEM AND JOSEPH K. ... CONTINUES IN BG

JOSEPH K.:

Where are you taking me? This - this isn't the direction of the law courts.

FRANZ:

You'll see.

JOSEPH K.:

Suppose I should tell you that I'll not go a step further.

FRANZ:

I wouldn't try it if I were you.

JOSEPH K.:

Well, since neither of you will tell me what's going to happen to me, answer just one question. I don't ask what my sentence is; even what I've been charged with. Only - only tell me. Has the sentence been passed?

FRANZ:

Well, we might at least--

WILLEM:

Quiet, Franz. Not another word from you. We're nearing the quarry.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

JOSEPH K.:

Why do you bring me to this deserted stone quarry? There's no court here. No judge. No-- I've received no warning, anything. What do you intend to do?!

WILLEM:

Joseph K., there's no further need for you to cry out. We're far from the edge of town and no one but Franz and I can hear you. (BEAT) Franz, give me the knife.

FRANZ:

(WITH PLEASURE) Yes.

WILLEM:

Take this knife, Joseph K. Take it yourself. You are to be your own executioner.

JOSEPH K.:

I'll not take the knife. I'll not do that.

FRANZ:

Then we must tie you to this rock.

WILLEM:

Lean back against it.

JOSEPH K.:

(STRUGGLES WITH EFFORT)

WILLEM:

Have you the noose on his wrist, Franz?

FRANZ:

Yes, I have it. Spread out your arms, Joseph K.

WILLEM:

Franz, there's someone coming. There's a light on the edge of the quarry.

JOSEPH K.:

(SHOUTS) Help! Help! For God's sake--!

WILLEM:

Give me the knife.

CHAPLAIN:

Joseph K., are you guilty of the crime for which you are about to die?!

SOUND:

KNIFE PLUNGES INTO JOSEPH K.

JOSEPH K.:

(SCREAMS)

MUSIC:

HUGE ACCENT

JOSEPH K.:

(GASPS, BREATHES HARD, AND DIES BEHIND THE FOLLOWING--)

CHAPLAIN:

Are you guilty? Are you guilty? Are you guilty?!

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

So ends "The Trial" by Franz Kafka. The story was adapted for radio by Davidson Taylor and was based on the English translation as published by Alfred Knopf. Bernard Herrmann composed the special musical score and Alexander Semmler conducted. The role of Joseph K. was played by Karl Swenson. "The Trial" was directed for the Columbia Workshop by Guy della Cioppa.

MUSIC:

A FINAL OMINOUS CUE, THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Your announcer is Sandy Becker for CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

MUSIC:

FADES OUT