The Actors’ Gang to Present George Orwell’s ‘1984’ at Center for the Arts

Posted: October 29, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

“In the time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act,” novelist George Orwell once said. The Los Angeles-based theater group, the Actors’ Gang, will bring a powerful new adaptation of Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, “1984,” to the stage at Mason’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m.

The production is directed by the troupe’s cofounder and artistic director, Academy Award-winning actor and director Tim Robbins. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the curtain on the Hall’s Grand Tier.

Written in 1949, Orwell’s “1984” is the disturbing tale of an oppressive, totalitarian society in which citizens live in perpetual fear of Big Brother. Speech and thought are censored, and the country is fighting an everlasting war against an unseen enemy.

Winston Smith is a secret dissident who longs to be a part of a fabled Brotherhood that wishes to overthrow the authoritarian government. Winston secretly falls in love with like-minded Julia, and they have an affair until O’Brien, an inner party member who poses as one of the Brotherhood, betrays them. Separated from Julia, Winston is interrogated and tortured by the party until he renounces his love for her and reaffirms his love for Big Brother.

This sparsely staged adaptation by playwright Michael Gene Sullivan takes place entirely in the interrogation room. Six actors play multiple roles, both as Smith’s conspirators and interrogators, and re-enact the events leading up to Smith’s capture and imprisonment.

Founded in 1981, the Actors’ Gang is known for its edgy and socially relevant productions. Critics have agreed that the production does not suffer from a political bias, but instead allows the audience to interpret the story for themselves.

The company’s mission is to create bold, original works and daring reinterpretations of classic plays. With Robbins at the helm, the company has produced 72 plays and won more than 100 awards. The Actors’ Gang has received acclaim for its interpretations of Shakespeare, Bruchner, Brecht, Molière, Aeschylus, Ibsen and Chekhov while developing new plays by thought-provoking writers that address issues in today’s society through satire, popular culture and raucous stagecraft.

Please note that this production contains brief, partial nudity and strong language.

Tickets are $34, $26 and $17. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit tickets.com.

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