A dystopian novel penned in 1949, George Orwell’s 1984 is set to make its debut on Broadway this week. The work stars Tom Sturridge as protagonist Winston Smith and Olivia Wilde – in her first Broadway turn – as his forbidden lover. The story, for those who never read the work, follows Smith through a modern totalitarian society, where individualism is crushed and the state uses misdirection and constant surveillance to keep the people in line.
The work was first staged in 2013 and is directed by Duncan Macmillan and Robert Icke, who also wrote the adaptation. After runs in the West End and tours with stops in Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, recent political events in the United States made the work a no-brainer to bring to the Great White Way, with the Trump administration’s embracing the concept of “alternative facts” and challenging news reports, echoing the government’s “doublethink” in the work.
“I think the feeling was, we have to do it now,” Mr. Macmillan recalled recently for the New York Times. “If we don’t, we’ll miss our chance.”
The creative team deliberately avoided making any references to current events, however, choosing to let the audience draw its own inferences from Orwell’s timeless work.
In an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show this week, Wilde discussed the story’s relevance to modern society with the host.
The play, which is currently in previews at the Hudson Theatre, officially opens on June 22nd. Find tickets for 1984 at TicketClub.com
Main Photo: 1984 in previews at the Hudson Theatre by Sara Krulwich/New York Times