The BDD Foundation was asked to consult and advise on a new production of the play Kafka v Kafka, centred on the complex relationship between the main protagonist Franz Kafka and his overbearing father figure. It is widely accepted but not well known that Kafka almost certainly suffered from BDD, and the Foundation was able to offer the director and the actor playing Kafka some valuable insight into living with the condition, and how this may have contributed to the way Kafka saw and related to the world. The producers are keen to explore this element and influence on one of the twentieth century’s most influential and gifted writers, as well as shed light on this often misunderstood and devastating disorder, and the Foundation is proud to have contributed.
An entire page of the programme is dedicated to BDD and the BDD Foundation:
“An interesting window into Kafka’s complex mind may be offered by the less recognised possibility that he probably suffered from a condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Quotes and sources suggest as much, and perhaps it is one reason he chose to metamorphose into a beetle rather than a unicorn in his most famous work. Simply put, he felt a hidden ugliness; his internal mirror was broken.
More prevalent than anorexia, BDD is a sometimes serious mental health condition characterised by a debilitating obsession with perceived defects in appearance. Sufferers are not vain, but instead will retreat into self-loathing, withdraw from social life, and, tragically, many take their own lives.
The BDD Foundation is a charity originally conceived by Ruth Ryan (who took part in a BBC documentary on BDD in 2006), and subsequently resurrected and relaunched in 2013. The BDDF is devoted exclusively to alleviating the often silent suffering of those afflicted by the condition through raising awareness, providing information and support to people struggling with BDD, facilitating the creation of a mutual support network among sufferers and carers around the world, and contributing to a better appreciation and understanding of the condition by advising the media on presenting information to the public.
They can be found online: bddfoundation.org on Twitter @bddfoundation and facebook.com/BDDFoundation”
The play runs from 4th November to 16th November at the Etcetera Theatre on Camden High St.