Tuesday, 6 October 2015
This post is a little out of order, as I saw 1984 on Friday night, before the Kids Lit stuff on Saturday, but it seems a little out of place among the cheery fun stuff!
This production is, like the original book, very far from being cheery or fun.
It incorporates the appendix to the original book, which is written as from a historian looking back at the events - in the play, this is used to frame the events of the story - the play starts with a group, perhaps students, or a book club, discussing Winston's diary.
We then see the events in Winston (Matthew Spencer)'s life - with on-going uncertainty about what was real, and what was not, or was simply memories (and if so, whose), with occasional
It's deeply unsettling - the production makes a lot of use of cameras and lighting - cast members disappear off stage and appear on camera on the screen above the stage, the characters unconscious that they remain under observation, blackouts spare us the worst of the scenes of violence and torture (or perhaps give us the opportunity to imagine the worst), and it's never entirely certain what is fact, what fear, what memory.
There is no interval so there isn't any respite.
It must be an exhausting play to perform.It's not a cheerful evening out but it is terrifyingly well done. I think it is going on an international tour, next..