Thursday, 2 October 2008

1984 (2005)

'Ex Machina is getting ready for 1984‘s revival in Milan. Seven performances will be shown at the Teatro alla Scala beginning May 2. Ian Greenlaw, Nancy Gustafson and Iride Martinez will be sharing the stage as leads under the direction of famous conductor Maestro Lorin Maazel.

George Orwell’s depiction of the dictatorship of Oceania lends itself well to theatre. Crammed with surveillance cameras and telescreens, corrupted by denunciation and lies, Orwell’s universe inspired a set that uses transparency and movement, as well as a large electronic apparatus, to provide constant surveillance.

The scene opens at the Ministry of Truth, where the staff have gathered to express their hatred towards the enemy of the State. Winston Smith’s fury, however, is not directed at Eastasia, the enemy continent, but at Big Brother himself. As a Ministry employee, Winston is a disillusioned witness to the falsifying of history in favour of the one-party State. He keeps a journal, a deeply subversive act, and he and his colleague Julia become lovers, also forbidden. Is another world possible? Can the dictatorship be overthrown? Together they nourish this utopian hope in a secret hideout in the Proles’ neighbourhood, where they believe the telescreens cannot spy on them - until Big Brother destroys their dream. They are separated and tortured, and each finally denounces the other. Deadened by Victory gin and electric shocks, Julia and Winston are reintegrated into society. The opera ends with Winston singing of his love for Big Brother.

Text posted by Mica Lawrence and pictures posted by Pille Lõhmus

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