Orwell’s novel thrives on stage thanks to Prime Stage Theatre


By Rachael Rennebeck

In a world obsessed with other people’s actions and behavior, a world smitten by being in the know-how at all times, Prime Stage’s “1984” couldn’t have been performed at a better time.

The New Hazlett Theater transformed its new and edgy performing arts center into a dark and eerie landscape that gave way to an all-star cast plagued with paranoia.  The simple, but bleak setting, catapulted a tone for the handful of moving actors who dramatically recreated a classic read.

Gasps could be heard throughout the theater as actors, specifically Justin Fortunato and Jessie Wray Goodman, flawlessly conveyed Winston and Julia’s tale of curiosity, confusion and lust.  The battle between dystopia and utopia, as well natural and expected thinking, was felt from the first office scene through the duo’s post-torture.

To further enhance the emotional impact “1984” exudes, Wayne Brinda, Prime Stage’s Producing Artistic Director, received a plaque from George Orwell’s son, Richard Blair on opening night.  The plaque contained a piece of the roof from the house where George Orwell wrote the dystopian novel “1984.”  The plaque presentation came off the heels of Blair’s packed book discussion at the Cranberry Barnes & Noble.

“We are thrilled to provide local readers with opportunity to meet Mr. Blair, especially as the popular ‘1984’ novel is being mentioned so often today in popular culture,” said Brinda.
The stage production of “1984” proved to be the riveting roller coaster of emotional distress that the book provided, with kudos to Brinda and Prime Stage, who are celebrating their 20th year.

The show wrapped on March 12. To see upcoming performances by Prime Stage, click here.

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