The future - but not as we remember it
George Orwell’s book was written in 1948, he named it 1984 and the storyline is a look forward to what could be 2018.
Manawatu Theatre Inc have taken on a stage version of the classic dystopian novel about a man losing his identity while living under a repressive regime.
The adaptation by Michael Gene Sullivan turns Orwell’s book on its head and director Scott Andrew said he had wanted to do it for a ‘‘very long time’’.
‘‘This version is so cool because it is all set in the same room. It adds to the intensity; it’s very upfront. It’s not told in a linear way and there are multiple levels. It’s unlike anything I have done before.’’
Andrews said 1984 was incredibly visionary, having been written in a time before the internet and surveillance.
‘‘When you put it into today’s context it is quite mind-blowing, with so many things happening in the world today that isn’t, or can’t be, talked about.
‘‘It was a cautionary tale. It is filled with a lot of taboo stuff. This play puts it right in front of everybody’s face. The idea with this version is to make the audience feel really uncomfortable, like a silent witness to an interrogation. The audience will feel complicit.’’
Globe Award winning actor Samuel Gordon plays the central character of Winston Smith and said this play was something he also really wanted to be a part of.
‘‘I have done a lot of musicals over the past few years but I am
‘‘Winston [Smith] is an everyman, he sort of represents us all’’ '1984' actor Samuel Gordon
getting re-tuned to plays now. Winston is an everyman, he sort of represents us all.’’
The only female character is played by Jess Linsley, who like Gordon, had come from a strong musical theatre and dance background. She said she was enjoying the challenge.
‘‘With the character of Julia being promiscuous in a time when it is against the law, is her rebellion. I am acting with some real pros here, which was a bit intimidating at first, but I wanted to see if I could do more.’’
For the ensemble style production, Andrew said he couldn’t have wished for a better cast in Samuel Gordon, Jess Linsley, Richard Mays, Mark Kilsby, Glen Eustace, Matt Waldin and Joanne Sale.
Manawatu Theatre Inc’s production of 1984 opens on June 16 at Palmerston North’s Globe Theatre and runs until July 1.
The cast of Manawatu Theatre’s production of ‘‘1984’’. From left Samuel Gordon, Jess Linsley, Matt Waldin, Mark Kilsby and Glen Eustace.