Tuesday, April 21, 2009

1984 and children and so on

Soooo I saw 1984. 'twas great. I got there a bit early, then went in, sat next to an older couple. Even though we were the first ones to be seated, we were usher'd to like 10 rows back, which was fine, the configuration of the theater was lovely and we could see and etc. But that meant that scores of (I thought) high school peoples would take up all those rows. NO. NOT TRUE. I am bad at guessing ages, but these kids could not have been past 8th grade, they were probably even younger.

Now I am sure they did not read the book in class. It's heavy, violent, and dark. Obviously. Why would a teacher think it a good idea to take 12 year olds to a play which they are pretty universally incapable of fully grasping the themes and implications of?

Maybe I am underestimating middle school brains. But I don't think so. Judging from their (extremely vocal) reactions to scenes, no. They did not. They laughed through almost the entirety of the scenes when Winston was in the Ministry of Love. Because, yeah, watching a man have everything right and true and sane beat and tortured out of him is hi-LARIOUS.

Also, the old man next to me fell asleep and started snoring, which was lolz.

So YES. The play itself was amazingly fantastic. Or it was to me. Though I think I seem to be somewhat blindly enthusiastic about things after I experience them. Something like that. Not exactly. Any time I go to a movie, I like it, think it was great. Valkyrie was amazing, and The Day the Earth Stood Still was pretty good. Then I come home and later see that everyone else (it seems) thought they were crap. *I* liked them. This doesn't happen with movies are undeniably crap, though. Like, I was not disillusioned in the least by Are We There Yet?. That movie suuuuucked.

The performance was great. I shall say that again. I really loved the set and how they changed scenes and the lack of props. Very minimalist. It was pretty ace. The stage was all drenched in black and blue lighting, and the telescreen was in the form of a big ol' ominous sinister white circle in the not-quite-center of an even bigger and more ominous circle. As depicted in this picture. i has hawt photography skillz.

Beforehand, I was wondering how they were going to do everything, as plays are auditory and visual experiences, and the majority of 1984 is all in thoughts and discreet actions. But it worked out fine, I think. They talked openly a few times in front of the telescreen, which wouldn't have worked, but whatever whatever it was great.

I don't know if you can see in the picture, but the only props that were used were chairs and two screen partition things that were repositioned and relocated and rotated and such for each scene. It was nice.

In conclusion, kids do inappropriate things, I like 1984 a whole lot, and old men snore and are consequently elbowed by their wives who are not entirely happy with the attention that the repeated, sustained graaaaarhhhgs draw to her husband and, subsequently, by association and physical proximity, to herself.


  1. I'm interested as to how they depicted the part of the book where we basically just read the manifesto. That would be hard to depict on stage I would think. But maybe I'm remembering it wrong (also that is where I stopped when I (tried to) read the book in grade 9).

  2. They skipped over most of the manifesto stuff. What he did read was out loud, he read to Julia. For what little they explained, I was impressed at how cohesive the whole thing was.

  3. As far as liking things that others thought were horrible, I think it's all a matter of taste. I'll listen to their criticisms before and after I see or listen to something but it's up to me in the end whether I like it or not.

    I've heard about play adaptations of 1984 but have yet to see one done. Hoping my college's theater program will do one, b/c this sounds like something they could pull off well.

  4. Sucks that the children were ruining the experience for you :( But the play sounds like it was amaaazing. Minimalist set ups fascinate me, because the ones I've seen are done so well.


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