The future-past becomes present

Giggling Iguana reimagines George Orwell's classic novel in 1.9.8.4.

Randi Edmundson (left), Tito Martin-Nemtin (top) with Erin Holmgren in Giggling Iguana Productions’ 1.9.8.4..

 

 

 

Giggling Iguana Productions is bringing the future-past to present day Victoria with its production of 1.9.8.4., an adaptation of George Orwell’s classic novel by local playwright David Elendune.

Don’t adjust your telescreens, 1.9.8.4. is Newspeak for Orwell’s more dated title.

With 1984 no longer in the future, Elendune’s adaptation evolved into 1.9.8.4. (One Nine Eight Four) to free it from a specific time and allow it to be a re-imagining of present day Victoria, or Victory City.

And even though it’s been more than 60 years since the novel was published, and we’re almost 20 years past the time of the bleak future world Orwell imagined in his story, its themes are as relevant as ever: Power corrupts … and Big Brother is most certainly watching.

1.9.8.4. tells the story of Winston Smith (Eric Holmgren) and Julia (Ariel Slack) who, in the face of an all-controlling government, pursue an illegal love affair until they are captured. They are faced with a horrific re-education process, or “cure,” under the watchful guidance of the mysterious O’Brien.

Another twist in Elendune’s adaptation is that the role of O’Brien has been written for a female. Christine Karpiak was cast in the role.

“It’s a challenge to turn the enigma of 1984 into something that works for an audience,” explains director Roger Carr. “David’s done a wonderful job capturing the feel and spirit of Orwell’s original work while cleverly adding and updating elements. He’s breathed new life into the piece, making it feel both modern and familiar.”

The result is a “very compact and intense” 75- minute adaptation for the stage.

It’s been 13 years since Giggling Iguana has produced a play on a traditional stage (Equus in 1999 at the McPherson Playhouse), focusing instead on its site-specific performances, including the ever-popular annual Halloween show at Craigdarroch Castle.

Odly enough, it was Carr who directed their last conventional production.

“I guess I’m conventional,” he says with a snicker.

But Carr is widely known for directing some of Langham Court Theatre’s most unconventional performances, including the controversial Laramie Project and the recent sold-out run of The Drowsy Chaperone.

The production also stars Tito Martin-Nemtin and Randi Edmundson as the Chorus.

“They are speaker 1 and speaker 2, a man and woman who change characters throughout,” says Carr. “They’re almost narrators at times, at other times quite clown-like, and at other times very oppressive.”

But don’t expect the production to be akin to an “evening of jabbing themselves in the eye.”

“The mood — from the audience’s perspective sitting down to think about what I’m going to do on a Friday night — I say give it a shot, it’s incredibly theatrical. I think it will sweep people off their feet. It’s fun to watch, and although there are some bleak scenes, I think they’re all contextualized,” says Carr.

The multi-level set, featuring two large pillars, was designed by Carr and built by the inmates at William Head Institution. M

 

 

1.9.8.4.

Intrepid Theatre Club

(1609 Blanshard)

Nov. 21-24 at 8pm Until Dec. 2

Tickets are $20/16 at ticketrocket.org or 250-590-6291

Just Posted

Esquimalt artist captures culinary personalities with body art

Mary Ploegsma’s unique chef/tattoo portrait series on display this month in Chinatown café

Jazz bargains available for music lovers this month

Left Coast Jazz Fest offers four-show package deal, extends discount for TD JazzFest ticket holders

WINE NOTES: Wild about the whites

Plenty of reason to try out these affordable whites, writes Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes

Animal-loving comic Carla Collins performing fundraiser show for SPCA

Sellout show June 20 could raise up to $35,000 for Victoria branch of organization

TESS VAN STRAATEN: Getting funky in Fernwood

Eclectic neighbourhood draws many visitors, laid-back feel popular with residents

Rick Mercer-led comedy team in for second Just for Laughs show at UVic

Comedy company will stage two shows Nov. 16 at Farquhar Auditorium

Trade expo a key part of 2019 BC Seafood Festival

Comox Valley hosts celebration of seafood industry; numerous events on tap this weekend

Samoa bans Elton John biopic, Rocketman

Depictions of homosexuality, contrary to law, cause country’s censor to prevent film’s screening

REVIEW: If you like farce, you’ll love Noises Off at Langham Court!

By Sheila Martindale The nine cast members in Langham Court Theatre’s new… Continue reading

Celtic songs tuned up for Sooke coffeehouse

Celtic Reflections to perfrom on June 15

Most Read