Off-Broadway, Play

Theatre: 59E59 Theatres

BOTTOM LINE: A visually and technically engaging adaptation of George Orwell’s classic novel with some very cool scenes.

Big Brother is watching you. Winston Smith is rebelling. “Down with Big Brother”
is a dangerous thought and an even more dangerous thing to say. In this world, newspeak has replaced our old vocabulary of expressive words and is now affecting our society's behavior. Winston has caught on. That’s the way they want it. Dare he choose to act out of order or think for himself? Remember, Big Brother is watching you.

So then, who is Big Brother? The Godlight Theater Company presents 1984, Orwell’s classic story, on stage in an intimate, chilling atmosphere. The audience surrounds the stage only 2 rows deep as we observe Winston’s struggle to live in the new world. News reports come in and go away, colleagues come and go and our experience is almost that of being Big Brother ourselves, seeing it all with no escape for anyone.

The 80-minute play is intense and practically in your face. The lights and sounds are loud and bright, but done with precision without being excessive. The adapted story was intriguing and the actors generally do create engaging scenes. There are many creative risks on stage through director Joe Tantalo's clever staging. More often than not it pays off. A few things had me scratching my head afterwards, but overall there were many neat moments.

I did catch this production in previews, so that could be why some scenes didn’t grab me as much as I would liked them to. It may change when the show officially opens next week. The adapted story, overall, was presented well. Some scenes and theatrics were lost on me, but as I write this the day after seeing the show, many of the images still stick in my head as I process what I saw.

If you are a fan of the story then you should definitely go see this classic novel on stage. The Godlight Theater Company does some awesome staging and the light show alone is worth the price of admission. If you think the concept is interesting, you’ll probably dig it.

(1984 plays at 59E59 Theatres, 59 East 59th Street, through April 19th. Performance times are Tuesday at 7:30pm, Wednesday through Saturday at 8:30pm, Saturday at 2:30 pm and Sunday at 3:30 pm. Tickets are $25, available at 212-279-4200 or online at For more information visit