George Orwell’s 1984 is a play which is not just ahead of the time when it was written, it is even ahead of the time in which it is set.
Orwell’s fictitious 1984 is a world where people are no longer allowed to think on their own. Their brains feed on the propaganda of an autocratic party which controls everything.
Those like Winston Smith, played by Anurag, who dare to rebel are pushed down a rabbit hole so tumultuous for their conscious minds that they lose all sense of their being. In 1984 people don’t know the date anymore and even their language is strictly monitored. The “newspeak” is shrunk every year so that people can resemble a production load of an assembly line.
The convoluted realities and time lines of the play messed with the audience so much that according to one audience member Abhishek, “At one point I had to check my phone thrice in one minute to check the time and date to stay grounded in reality.”
With a powerful script, comes the responsibility of powerful acting. The play demanded a lot from the actors but most of them came up short, some even delivering emphatic lines in a sing-song manner. During powerful exchanges actors would stop mid-sentence since their dialogues got over, but the interjection of the other actor came too late after an awkward bout of dead air. Moreover, one could see the actors going through their dialogues in their heads rather than being in the scene.
There were romantic sequences, dance sequences, surges of anger and frustration but all throughout the actors remained stubbornly rigid and stone faced. The only saving grace of the team was Lokik Desai. He was the evil government agent and single-handedly brought up the level of performance. With his expressive baritone and body language he embodied his character bringing to life one of the evilest portrayals on stage.
Director Riyaz probably had little time to put up the production and hence had the team under rehearsed; which is a surprise considering the past brilliant record of Lord Chambelain’s Men productions. Problems aside, LCM’s new production is on its way and we hope that this one will be just as brilliant as the ones we have been treated to till now....