Broadway’s 1984: A Disturbing, Truthless Dystopia

June 26, 2017

By Tara Jessup

June 27, 2017 
By Dr. Leonard H. Golubchick LaborPress Entertainment Editor

The play 1984, based on George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, is a frightening look at a totalitarian future.

The phrase “Big Brother is watching you” comes directly from the novel, published in 1949—during the period that saw the Iron Curtain fall on Eastern Europe and a widespread fear that communism would be a dominant form of government in the world, and just after the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov described 1984 as an attempt “to show what life would be like in a world of total evil, in which those controlling the government kept themselves in power by brute force, by distorting the truth, and by continually rewriting history.” Frighteningly, this sounds familiar with the current Trump regime, with its bluster about “fake news” and “alternative facts.” There isn’t any privacy, as everyone is watched and monitored.

The Broadway version, at the Hudson Theatre, stars Tom Sturridge and Olivia Wilde as the lovers who unsuccessfully attempt to revolt, and Reed Birney as their Thought Police interrogator.  It was brought to New York from London’s West End and adapted for Broadway by co-directors Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan.

The 101-minute production can be disorienting, due to its interrupting lights and sounds. In fact, the producers announced that no one under 13 will be admitted. I certainly would not recommend this disturbing show to the general audience. If you are a history buff or political devotee, however, this might be the play for you.


June 26, 2017

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