There’s Always Hope
Back Alley Productions: Live Stream “1984”
By Hope Holloway
Back Alley Productions, of Layfayette, Georgia, will be adding to their incredible online repertoire this weekend as they live stream their virtual performance of the dystopian drama “1984”, based off of George Orwell’s book of the same name. Tickets are on sale now for the Friday and Saturday nights of the next two weekends–July 31st, August 1st, August 7th and August 8th, all at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10 a piece, are valid for one device and can be reused for each performance. Once tickets are purchased, a direct link for the show will be provided in an email.
Like so many other performing arts venues, Back Alley Productions shut the doors to Mars Theatre in March due to Covid-19. Since shutting down, “1984” will be their first live performance back in their home theatre. The performance will be streamed live so that you can view the play safely, from a distance, wherever you may be! All you need is your device, your ticket and a little time to enjoy the theatrical treat.
This production will delve into the nightmarish world that George Orwell created when he wrote “1984”. You’ll see Winston Smith struggle with life in an alternative reality where authoritarian Big Brother government controls the populace with an ever watchful eye. Omniscient surveillance and secret police have replaced free thought and free speech.
“Though ‘1984’ is set 36 years ago in an alternate timeline of our own world, many of the themes presented share a shocking resemblance to our modern world,” Director Gavin Russell said. “When Orwell conceived of mass surveillance, he had no idea how much further we would go in just a few short decades. Our modern context has radically changed the urgency of ‘1984’.”
Defying the national ban on individual thinking, Winston dares to express his own personal thoughts in a diary, and then pursues love with another human named Julia. Both actions are deeply criminal and don’t go unnoticed. Soon Winston must face a choice: either he conforms to the collective…or face the dire consequences.
“Winston’s struggle echoes some of our own struggles because there’s less and less room to be a free individual in the digital age,” Russell adds. “Often you must adhere to a group completely, or face banishment. Not to mention that everywhere we go can be tracked, all the pictures we take are shared freely in a mass database we all contribute to, and we have listening devices and cameras literally around us at all times. It’s Orwell’s worst nightmare.”
Is this show appropriate for children, you might ask? There’s no heavy adult content, per se, but “1984” does contain darker themes–including unsettling concepts about oppression, and scenes that could be considered disturbing. As such, it would not be intended for younger audience members.
Executive Producer Kaylee Smith reports that they are “very excited to have Director Gavin Russell finally bring his vision of ‘1984’ to life in this new online format”. Kaylee adds, “We paused our entire season the day before his show was slated to open. For a director and cast, there’s nothing more heartbreaking. But we’re excited to go online and try something innovative. We’ve been spending time learning new skills and finding ways to optimize the online streaming experience for our viewers. ‘1984’ is going to be a truly special, professional and high quality experience.”
“Replacing the magic of live theatre is impossible,” Smith notes, “but to bring this show to fruition, even on a digital platform, feels like a positive step forward for our company, our cast and crew, and for the local arts as a whole. We hope you join us online.” We at The Marion County Messenger agree!
Back Alley always presents quality work, so you are going to want to head to their website right away to secure your tickets: bapshows.com! For more information, click on the link above for their website, or call (706)621-2870 to speak with Kaylee Smith. Break a leg, Back Alley Productions!