Tag Archives: Hudson Theatre

You Are Watching Big Brother

Hudson Theatre
101 Minites
now through October 8th

1984 – the book is usually required reading for all high school students.  I personally consider it an essential read for all human beings.  In fact, although I have only read it once, it remains the best book I have ever read (that isn’t Chicken Soup With Rice).  The new 1984 play on Broadway isn’t required or even essential viewing, but it never hurts to take a fresh look at the material, regardless of how painful it is to do so.  The play is both fresh, and painful.  I’m sure you’re asking – where do I sign up??

To me, plays are usually a too stage-y and static for my enjoyment.  I prefer musicals cause the songs keep the pace going, in between the slower talking expositiony bits.  Well, there is no music in 1984, but there’s nary a lull or dull moment.  If you somehow find yourself napping during the show, the constant yelling, sirens and blackouts will jolt you back into the surreality being performed on stage

1984 isn’t a happy place or time, but you know this cause you’ve already read the book (or seen the underloved film).  If you haven’t, I don’t think you can sit through the play and appreciate Orwell’s text.  You may get the message, but you won’t get the details.  Also, you will be served a Winston Smith that wasn’t really to my liking.  Don’t get me wrong, Tom Sturridge gives it his ALL in this adaptation, and I actually feel for him that he has to endure the fake pain he encounters night in and night out on the Hudson Theatre stage, but there was something totally off about his interruption and diction of the character.  He sounded like a bro that was rad + cool, and not a radical brother.  Maybe I just picture Winston to be more like the stoic, and recently departed John Hurt, which hurt Sturridge’s chances of being my new Winston Smith

But Sturridge isn’t alone.  I didn’t really care for Olivia Wilde’s Julia (she didn’t get naked), or Carl Hendrick Louis as whomever he was, or Robert Duvall’s cousin (who doesn’t seem very Duvallian) loud loudness.  I did care for Reed Birney and Cara Seymour‘s work, and all else that went into the production.  The staging in the early parts was pretty fixed, but as things got more fcuked up in the story, so did everything else with it.  As Winston got stripped down, so did the production.  As the tension mounted onstage, it did the same for its audience.  And you know your play is working its intended magic when the lead has his teeth pulled, spits waterfalls of blood from his mouth, and your wife turns to you and says ‘this is the worst play I’ve ever seen!‘  She didn’t say anything like that after the show was over, but I’m sure she was thinking that she was happy to live in a society that wasn’t 1984 (no matter how many of you Trump revilers think we are)

that’s some goodthink right there, so to newspeak


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