In the Loop
General News : Aug 31, 2017

George Orwell’s "1984" explores societal issues in performance at the Hippodrome

By Grace Landefeld

George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, is recognized as one of the most iconic fiction titles of our time. Now adapted into a stage performance, the Hippodrome Theatre and UF School of Theatre + Dance (SOTD) have collaborated to bring the show to the stages of Gainesville for its Southeast regional premiere.

1984 explores the erosion of privacy, destruction of identity and a dystopian future through the eyes of Winston Smith. Although the novel was written in 1949, the play, written by Andrew White, proves the story is more relevant now than ever.

Dr. Jerry Dickey, the director of SOTD, said the show was picked both due to its theatrical nature and resonance within our current society.

“We’re in an age where we’re all more aware of media manipulation, fake news and alternative facts,” Dickey said.

Dickey anticipates the audience will be able to relate the message of the story to our current times and connect as a community.

Orlando Mendez, a UF student acting in his second show with the Hippodrome, anticipates the audience will see themselves in the show.

“It's a warning for what might happen if were not attentive to what’s happening around us and in tune to society,” he said. “This is not some distant idea. This is real.”

Mendez hopes that those who come to the show will walk away wanting to have a conversation.

1984 is the school’s fifth production with the Hippodrome, continuing the tradition of kickstarting students’ professional careers. Students are working as assistant lighting designers and assistant projection designers, as well as acting in the cast.

Diego Zozaya, a fourth-year BFA acting major, explains that working on this show has caused him to demand a new sense of professionalism from himself.

“Since coming to UF, I have always been amazed at the caliber of work that I've seen the Hipp do,” Zozaya said. “Being able to be a part of it has been a gift and an excellent challenge for me as an artist.”

The show is also a part of the “One City, One Story” project to bring the Gainesville community together through a variety events in relation to 1984. Events include dramatic readings on the steps of the Hippodrome, a children’s workshop with the Hippodrome Teen Ensemble, actor talkbacks, book clubs and panel discussions.

1984 opens Friday, September 1 and runs through September 24.

Showtimes are:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $35 general admission, $25 under 30 and seniors, and $15 students and children. Tickets can be purchased on the Hippodrome’s website by clicking here.

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