We at See Tickets Theatre are very excited to see the return of the critically acclaimed, 1984. Adapted by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, this production was an absolute hit with the critics, receiving 5 star reviews from numerous British Publications such as The Observer, The Times and The Guardian. This led to a UK tour, an International tour and further West End runs. We decided that to celebrate its triumphant return we would take a look back at the journey of this fascinating story.
In case you didn’t know, 1984 was originally a novel by George Orwell, first published in 1949. It features on many of the best sellers/reading bucket lists and focuses on the main themes of Surveillance, Nationalism, Futurology and Censorship. These four reasons are probably why the play still resonates with a modern audience and are probably why it has constantly been reinvented, re-imagined and has inspired new work through different mediums over the years.
In 1953, the book was adapted into a Radio Drama and starred big names of the time; Richard Widmark, Alan Hewitt and Marian Seldes. This was part of a radio show called Theatre Guild on the Air. We managed to find a recording of it on Youtube:
1954 brought a TV Program of 1984 broadcast by the BBC, it was performed live, similar to a play and has since been replayed on television over the years. This version starred Peter Cushing as Winston Smith, one of his first major roles.
1956 saw the making of a film version of 1984, starring Edmond O’Brien as Winston Smith. It also featured Donald Pleasance who starred in the previous TV program. When the customary distributor agreement expired it actually was unobtainable for many years and not shown in Theatres or on TV. Don’t you worry though, it is now available on DVD.
Another film version was made in 1984, this version starred John Hurt as Winston and Richard Burton as O’Brien and featured music from the Eurythmics as well as Richard Muldowney. Fun fact, during the production some of the filming was intentionally done on the specific dates from Winston’s Diary.
The story of 1984 also inspired some of the Television and Film we recognise today, here are but a few examples of elements of the story:
First aired in 2000 in the UK, Big Brother is a reality TV show that gives you the role of observing housemates and their interactions. It gave the British public control, the power of evicting people they didn’t like, based on the compiled surveillance footage.
Another television show that directly used a crucial element of the story is Room 101. Since 1994 celebrities have appeared on the show with things that they would like to put in Room 101, it has had various comedian hosts but has most recently been presented by Frank Skinner.
In 1998, Jim Carrey starred in The Truman Show, a film which closely resembles the idea of Big Brother. It follows Truman as he grows up whilst constantly being monitored and manipulated by a television producer and having his life aired to the public.
But here we are, in 2016 and the story of 1984 still seems just as relevant today as it ever did. Why not come on down to the Playhouse Theatre and join Comrade 6079, where he is thinking thoughts, starting a diary and falling in love, much to Big Brother’s dismay. Thank you to Robert Icke, one half of the adaptors of the show for participating in a mini interview and giving us some background to his and Duncan’s adaptation. If you needed more of a reason to see this mind-blowingly brilliant show:
“The intention was not to make a point by point remake of the book on stage but to create a jarring visual experience, with no interval, lots of loud sounds and flashing lights. In order to make you feel part of the world and to make audiences question what they are seeing.”- Robert Icke.
Book tickets to see 1984 from £19.84 as part of our Show of the Week Offer. For best savings get tickets before 16/05/16!
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