Big Brother is Watching. Just Not at the Alley Theater. Women’s History Month Day 7
With Texas just having voted in our 2020 Presidential Primary with a record number of WOMEN running to be our 46th President & the start of Women’s History Month, I was so hopeful that the Alley Theater’s presentation of George Orwell’s “1984” would help with the rampant Misogyny American Women face in today’s society.
It did not.
With one white woman & four men - two black, two white in the cast, the stage adaptation of the book fell short from concept to stage design to message.
At curtain call, the unseen voice of Big Brother boomed from a blackened theater:
“Let the Interrogation begin.”
In a flash of blinding light, the stage was revealed with main character Winston Smith, played by one of the two black men shackled & tethered to the stage through out the entire play.
All five characters wore crisply-starched suits on a modern-industrial center stage, while the background was bare save for four chairs & a couple of reading lamps.
Several of the main ideas of “1984” such as the Thought Police, Double-Speak & Rewriting History were ineffectively touched on, but the image of a Black Winston Smith being enslaved & tortured by electric shock on stage in Houston, Texas - home to a huge part of the Civil Rights Movement was just too much to take.
I left at the Intermission.
Julia, Winston Smith’s love interest in “1984” was said to be a foul-mouthed Siren, who before she gained his trust he thought to be a Spy. The shocking stream of obscenities about sucking Winston’s Cock, plus the “Dry-Humping” on stage was poorly executed & just too much.
In George Orwell’s book “1984” the Thought Police are everything. The Double-speak is everything. The Rewriting History is everything. The sordid affair between Julia & Winston is everything, but it failed to draw the correlation between a work of fiction & watching TV today.
The over-riding main theme of “Big Brother watching from the Telescreen” pitting people against each other, constantly looking over their shoulder & racing “to report or be reported” to the Thought Police failed to make that similarity obvious.
Big Brother in the book was a Dictatorial Tyrant, who employed torture to Brainwash the people of “Oceania” to believe in the “Lies Du Jour” that Winston & others in their jobs at the Ministry of Truth had blatantly falsified in News Reel Stories, Newspaper Stories, Broadcast Stories, Magazine Clippings to be the complete opposite of what was previously written or recorded.
That was Winston’ Smith’s JOB.
In Winston Smith’s case, the brainwashing was so complete & total that the Book ends with a Bullet entering his head with his proclamation -
“I LOVE Big Brother.”