Sunday, 17 January 2010

Back into Room 101

Once again, time has charged ahead and I'm left wondering where it all went. We are into a new decade and the World is once again in the throes of a disaster. The terrible events in Haiti are an awesome reminder of the destructive power of nature. Echoes of the Asian Tsunami resound. There must be something about this time of year when the Earth (literally) shakes us up and puts us in our place.

All this makes my posting about a theatrical event seem pathetic and irrelevant and yet, often, it is the communion of actor and audience that can make sense of terrible events. All of the major tragedies from the Greeks onwards deal with such big events as war, famine, disaster and death. They allow a personal perspective on the Machinations of Governments and Business, Tyrants and Warriors. Catharsis is offered and gratefully accepted. Lucy Prebble's play "Enron" deals with high level corruption in the murky world of business. We are all still feeling the effects of the financial crisis precipitated by such acts of greed. Indeed, imagine the amount of aid that could be sent to Haiti if we used the money properly and didn't give it to the boss of RBS as a bonus.

So, back to our production of 1984. After a very successful couple of performances at The National Media Museum in Bradford back in June 2009, we are again taking the play on tour. Thanks in no small way to the contribution of John Hurt, we have managed to get half a dozen or so venues interested in taking the production. So far, Sale in Cheshire, Wakefield, and Derby have confirmed. We are back in rehearsal with three new cast members and have been revisiting Orwell's original novel, Michael Radford's chilling film version, and, of course, Alan Lydiard's great script to get us back in the world of Oceania.

So much of the novel resonates today that I hardly need to mention it here. It is sobering though to think how close we have come to Orwell's vision. If the book was intended as a warning; we have failed to heed it. If you don't believe me, just count the CCTV cameras on your journey home.