The fu­ture - but not as we re­mem­ber it

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - CARLY THOMAS

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.

PHOTO: ROB ED­WARDS

The cast of Manawatu The­atre’s pro­duc­tion of ‘‘1984’’. From left Sa­muel Gor­don, Jess Linsley, Matt Waldin, Mark Kilsby and Glen Eus­tace.

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