Chill­ing adap­ta­tion of Or­well novel

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

Manawatu The­atre’s pro­duc­tion of 1984 is ‘‘a play that could change the lives of peo­ple if they’re will­ing to en­gage with it.’’

Scott An­drew, who’s di­rect­ing the Manawatu pre­miere of the stage adap­ta­tion of Ge­orge Or­well’s chill­ing book, de­scribes it as a play that ‘‘peo­ple must see, learn from and dis­cuss.’’ If they do, it could change their per­cep­tion of what’s hap­pen­ing in the world.

1984 is the story of Win­ston Smith, a cog in the gi­ant ma­chine of the State. Phys­i­cally and men­tally, un­der the om­nipresent eye of Big Brother, Win­ston un­cov­ers in­dis­putable proof that the Leader of the State is ly­ing.

In try­ing to es­cape, he com­mits another crime by fall­ing in love with Ju­lia, which brings a deeper blur be­tween pro­pa­ganda and re­al­ity. With the bru­tal ‘help’ of four Party Mem­bers who act out his life, Win­ston is forced to con­fess his ‘‘thought-crimes’’ be­fore an un­seen in­quisi­tor and the au­di­ence who act as a silent wit­ness.

It’s the fi­nal chap­ters in Or­well’s omi­nous book that skilled di­rec­tor Scott An­drew is bring­ing to life in Michael Gene Sul­li­van’s mod­ern adap­ta­tion of the novel.

Scott sees the novel, writ­ten nearly 70 years ago, as es­sen­tial read­ing be­cause it ‘‘ac­cu­rately pre­dicts what is hap­pen­ing in the world to­day re­gard­ing sur­veil­lance and many other facets.’’

‘It’s a fe­ro­cious and provoca­tive play and one that will ab­sorb the au­di­ence who are both par­tic­i­pants in and wit­nesses of what’s hap­pen­ing,’’ Scott says.

‘‘The play is hugely rel­e­vant and sales of the novel have sky­rock­eted since Don­ald Trump be­came Pres­i­dent.’’

Scott An­drew vin­di­cates Ge­orge Or­well’s mes­sage that ‘‘in a time of uni­ver­sal de­ceit, telling the truth is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary act’’ and is to­tally loyal to the book and its adap­ta­tion. He has gath­ered around him an ex­tremely tal­ented and ex­pe­ri­enced cast, headed by Sam Gor­don, the win­ner of the 2016 Globe Award for his role in The Glass Menagerie.

Sam, as Win­ston, is su­perbly sup­ported by Richard Mays, Mark Kilsby, Matt Waldin, Jess Linsley and Glen Eus­tace, who use ev­ery de­vice to as­sist his con­fes­sion.

1984 runs at The Globe from Fri­day June 16 to Satur­day July 1 at 7.30pm but with three per­for­mances (June 21, 25 and 28) at 6.30pm. Book at The Globe 06 351 4409.

SamGor­don plays the ill­fated Win­ston Smith in Ge­orge Or­well’s 1984.

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