The plot, players, and creators of 1984.

Who was George Orwell?

“What I have most wanted to do...is to make political writing into an art.” -George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair was an English writer mostly known by his pen name, George Orwell. He lived in a tumultuous time (he was 30 when Hitler came to power), and the political climate greatly influenced his writing.

 

In his essay Why I Write, he explained, “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism, and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.” He died at the age of 46, shortly after publishing 1984.  

Did you know 1984 is a dystopian masterpiece?

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever." -O’Brien in 1984 

In the decades since the year 1984 has come and gone, the novel1984 has often been hailed as prophetic.

 

Orwell was a sort of pioneer for dystopian fiction, and like most dystopian novels, 1984 served as commentary and a warning about the state of the world at the time. 

Fresh Look at an Old Classic

“It's smart, contemporary, and disturbingly relevant.” -Paul Walsh, professor at Yale School of Drama

The Alley's production is Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation of 1984. This version has been produced nationally and internationally since its debut with star Tim Robbins' company, The Actor's Gang, in 2006. Its long production history is a testament to the unyieldingly and terrifyingly relatable nature of the source material.

The plot of this adaptation picks up Orwell’s narrative after Winston has been arrested and detained at the Ministry of Love. 

A Kindred Political Spirit

“I want the audience to have a great time… then march out of the theatre and overthrow oppression by the corporatists.” -Michael Gene Sullivan

1984 playwright Michael Gene Sullivan has a long track record of creating art and articles that champion social and economic justice. His work resonates on a global scale- 1984 alone is available to produce in six languages.

His passionate political engagement would no doubt have earned Orwell’s approval- or at least his respect. Orwell believed that political purpose was one of the four great motives for writing anything, and the one that most deserved to be followed. 

Playwright Michael Gene Sullivan

Meet the Players

Resident Acting Company Members bring this prescient piece to life.

The Alley Theatre’s commitment to maintaining a resident company of actors has made the Alley unique among American theatre companies. The Alley’s dedication to supporting the acting company enables our artists to deepen their work through long-term collaboration while strengthening their ties to the Houston community.

Shawn Hamilton as Winston

Once a propaganda officer who dreamed of rebellion, now a prisoner forced to recount his illegal love affair with Julia.

Todd Waite as 3rd Party Member

Loyal follower of Big Brother. Tasked with role-playing Winston's friend Syme and a Rally Speaker that spouts propaganda.

Jay Sullivan as 1st Party Member

Loyal follower of Big Brother. Tasked with role-playing Winston as they recreate his rebellion and his love affair with Julia.

David Rainey as 4th Party Member

Loyal follower of Big Brother. Role-plays Winston's co-worker, Parsons; Mr. Charrington, who aids Winston and Julia; and a rebel named O'Brien.

Elizabeth Bunch as 2nd Party Member

Loyal follower of Big Brother. Tasked with role-playing the warm, outspoken, and unabashedly physical Julia.

Chris Hutchison as O'Brien

A member of an anti-government organization "The Brotherhood" who enlists Winston in the fight against Big Brother.

Copyright Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement 2015.