2 + 2 = 5 And Other Lies I Now Believe

A Review of 1984


Nathaniel Martin, Staff Writer

Three stern looking guards were walking around the stage and through the aisles while two trembling desk workers feverishly scribbled on notebooks. The furious eyes of Big Brother were watching everyone. Then the guards dragged one of the workers away, kicking and screaming, and the play began.

1984, based off George Orwell’s book Nineteen-Eighty-Four, depicts the life of Winston Smith as he wrestles with the oppression in Oceania, where the Party monitors all human action with Big Brother. Winston elects to defy the party, and pursues a relationship with a woman named Julia.

Talent abounded both onstage and offstage like flowers in a meadow, and I was blown away by the performances of so many of my peers. Two performances captured my attention more than the others however. Senior Bryan Kingsley’s portrayal of Winston Smith and senior Zach Demet’s performance as O’Brien, an member of the Inner Party.

Kingsley was onstage almost the entire length of the show, and I loved every minute of it. His role wasn’t a walk in the park either. Kingsley had to convince the audience that he was experiencing the two rawest emotions a person can have: intense love and abject fear. He did both flawlessly. The genuine smile on Kingsley’s face during his scenes with Julia was the perfect contrast of the pure terror in his eyes when O’Brien held a cage of rats next to his face.

Speaking of O’Brien, Demet was outstanding. Normally in roles of over-the-top big guys, Demet was cast into foreign waters with the role. The result was unnerving. Demet played the role of a manipulative, power-hungry, Party official to a T, and when he ordered the torturing of Kingsley I wondered where the kind, gentle, man I knew had gone. Plus, it was his intense glare that was used for the eyes of Big Brother.

Although my eyes went straight to Demet or Kingsley while they were onstage, the rest of the cast had a big hand in bringing the totalitarian regime of Oceania to life. Sophomore Kailey Albus was magnificent in her role as Julia, junior Michael Daniels shone in his theater debut as a particularly menacing guard, and senior Katie Barth once again made me laugh playing an old woman.

The set of 1984 was also done very nicely. The telescreens of Big Brother placed throughout the theater and the mottos of Oceania emblazoned with large red letters across the back of the set made me wonder what an actual totalitarian state might look like. The way set changes were done, with the guards screaming at workers to move props, was very creative and well done.

The only part of the show that confused me was when Winston and Julia fell in love faster than Anna and Hans in Frozen. Julia said three words to Winston and KAPOW! they wanted to get married. I thought that was a bit odd.

I had a great time watching 1984. The cast and crew were amazing. Not only was I entertained, I walked away very thankful that I live in a democracy.