British playwrights and directors Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan first staged their theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984 in 2013, and the production played successfully to British and international audiences. However, the play, said to be true to the original writing, did not make it to Broadway until June 2017. After Donald Trump took office in the United States and the concept of “alternative facts” came to light, interest in 1984 and the kind of “thoughtcrime” described in the book skyrocketed. The Broadway production of 1984 has been described as an assault on the senses, with flashing strobe lights, a thundering jackhammer, and a lot of blood. Some theatergoers have had extreme reactions -- fainting, vomiting, and unrest have all been spawned by the play's unrelenting violence.
An intense night at the theater:
- In Orwell’s dystopian classic, protagonist Winston Smith is brutally tortured for resisting the totalitarian regime led by Big Brother. While some adaptations have toned down the violence, the Hudson Theater production does not.
- “The torture scenes are visceral, ghastly, and hair-raisingly vivid,” wrote one critic.
- In the wake of Trump’s election, the book climbed to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list -- nearly 70 years after it was first published.