Iowa City – Dreamwell Theatre presents George Orwell’s 1984, adapted by Michael Gene Sullivan, directed by Gavin Conkling. Performances will be October 16, 17, 23 & 24 at 7:30pm at their new location, Public Space One (120 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City).
Based on the iconic novel by George Orwell, 1984 brings us the story of Winston Smith, a cog in the giant machine state of Oceania. Physically and mentally under the omnipresent eye of Big Brother, Winston has been caught struggling for scraps of love and freedom in a world awash with distrust and violence. With the brutal “help” of four Party Members, Winston is forced to confess his Thoughtcrimes before an unseen inquisitor and the audience — which acts as a silent witness to his torture. A ferocious and provocative adaptation of one of the most prescient works of literature of the last century. Tickets are available here.
Tell us a little bit about your character.
Winston Smith is a powerless man in a totalitarian society who finds himself mentally and physically tortured by those who have power over him.
What has been the most challenging part of the rehearsal process?
I’ve found this script to be one of the most difficult I’ve ever encountered, in terms of memorization. As in an interrogation, there are many recurring questions repeated at random, in order to catch the suspect in a lie. It makes it very difficult to “cue” off your scene partners.
What has been your favorite part about playing your character?
I’ve rarely felt such profound empathy towards a character I’ve played. You always feel some level of affinity with your character, but with Winston…I desperately want him to emerge unscathed. Hey, I can hope, right?
If you could choose three words to describe Winston, what would they be?
Moral, imaginative, broken
Have you been in a play based on a famous literary work before this one?
I was in To Kill a Mockingbird at TCR in spring 2014 and loved being part of a story that I have read and reread over the years.
How have you prepared for your role?
Going over and over and over and over the script. We’ve had many discussions regarding the characters, their motives, their intentions, etc., and it really helped me examine the story from a completely different mindset than when I read the book years ago.
Why should people come see this show?
This is some dark, intense stuff. I would love it if the show inspires people to talk about how Big Brother’s world does/doesn’t mirror ours, or discuss what extremes people will go to in order to achieve their goals. And maybe gets them to read/reread the book. It’s brilliant. Oh, and it’s a Dreamwell show, so…duh.
Winston – Duane Larson
O’Brien – Stephen Ivester
First Party Member – Joe Tranmer
Second Party Member – Alexis Russell
Third Party Member – Valerie Bills
Fourth Party Member – Eric Teeter