In a world where subversive thinking is punished and individualism is deleted, the new Broadway play “1984” challenges theater goers to experience a gut wrenching story that eliminates the safety of the infamous 4th wall. Based on the critically acclaimed novel by George Orwell, Directors/Adapters Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan take themes of surveillance, humanity, power and corruption to the stage by following the central character Winston (played by Tom Sturridge) through wormholes of a dystopian society.
A fractured and confused Winston attempts to keep a hidden diary to recount his memories as he writes for the future by remembering the past. This type of “Double Think” is an ideology that threatens “Big Brother” as it circumvents the governing body’s ability to revise the truth. Accomplished by deleting people from databases and mentions in media thus making a person or an idea an “Unperson”, you will have never existed to those not yet born.
Through the following 110 minutes of experiential theater, audience members watch Winston’s descent into a palace of horrors that not only challenge his moral thread of right and wrong but reveals his inner most desires. His on stage romance with Julia (played by Olivia Wilde) gets perversely showcased to the world (played by the audience) as they attempt to discover love from a secret room they have found. All taking place on a stage laden with telescreens and hidden cameras that watch the most intimate of moments through a vehicle of telegraphical voyeurism.
Brilliantly staged the new adaptation makes you understand the need for privacy and how corruption sets a precedent for the future. “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies- this IS indispensably necessary.” If two plus two equal four, does it equal five if “Big Brother” said it’s so?
As the show comes to a bone chilling end the ultimate questions get presented; Who is Big Brother? and Who’s watching who?
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