Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Based on the book by George Orwell.
Stage adaptation by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan
Playing at the Playhouse Theatre London
Viewing on July 16 (2:30 matinee)


George Orwell wrote his famous dystopian novel, 1984, in in the 1940’s. The original novel follows the story of Winston Smith, a middle-class man struggling with the reality of his time. His home state, Airstrip One, is in a constant state of war and political uprising. Men and women are punished for opposing the central government, acting as an individual, and thinking independently. Winston Smith spends much of his time thinking about the flaws he finds in the political systems and of potential rebellion. 1984 has made its way into the curriculum of many high school and university level English classes. The book is very popular in both academia and in family libraries throughout the U.S. and Europe.


Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan attempt to see the classic novel through different eyes. Like many other popular plays of our time, the adaptation remains mostly true to the novel it is based on. The biggest difference lies within the bookend style plot. At the beginning and the end of the play, historians are looking back on Winston Smith’s diary and are trying to determine whether the journal is a factual retelling or a work of elaborate fiction. Between these bookends, however, audiences are captivated by the characters and conflicts that they know and love.

The preview online shows the play to be very dark and dramatic. I’m not going to say that it is scary (because I haven’t seen it), but it has the potential to be very suspenseful! Critics across England have remarked on the show’s intricate use of lights and projections. From the preview, I could see that projection technology will be used. The lighting, subject matter, and strong theatricality should prove to be a captivating show!


In short, expect the 1984 that you read in high school, but expect it with a twist. I urge you to go to the website and see the dark preview featuring flashing subliminal messages and a creepy children’s song. Remember: Big Brother is watching you.

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