Gadsden State Theatre presents ‘1984’

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Gadsden State Community College’s Theatre Department is bringing George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, “1984,” to the stage at 7 p.m. Oct. 26-28 at the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center.

“Our show explores the issues of free speech and the control of language,” said Joe Fuselli, director of the show. “I find ‘1984’ to be particularly relevant today. Our society is facing a dilemma in terms of censorship in our new public square – social media.”

“1984” depicts a totalitarian society where the government exercise total control over the lives of its citizens, surveying their every move and suppressing independent thought. The play follows the protagonist, Winston Smith, as he rebels against the oppressive regime and grapples with the consequences of seeking freedom and truth in a world dominated by propaganda and thought control.

“Winston Smith has a somewhat cynical view of this world, which is pretty easy considering how bleak it is,” said Jonas Abernathy, the Gadsden State student who plays him. “He tries his hardest to fly under the radar even though he has his doubts about the government.”

Joining Abernathy in lead roles are Jake Rhinehart, who plays O’Brien, and Madi Farrow, who plays Julia.

“This show is a powerful exploration of themes like government oppression, manipulation and the dangers of unchecked authority,” Farrow said. “It is incredibly thought provoking. Orwell has an ability to create a bleak and oppressive atmosphere that will leave you captivated from start to finish.”

Fuselli said that fans of Orwell’s novel will notice dramatic liberties taken by the playwrights.

“This was likely done to make the story resonate better with modern audiences,” he said. “Some of their choices may be egregious to the purist but I believe the spirit of the novel remains.”

Other performers in the show are Juniper Hicks, Lucas Gamblin, Lilly Barber, Jade Swinford, Kadin Gardner, Daniel Anderson, Ryan Kelly, Josh Kimbril, Trevor Wheat, Hayden Reeves, Buffy Bailey, Anaya Hudson-Hunt and Emily Beasley.

Gregory Heathcock is the theatre manager and technical director. Alyssa Farley is the stage manager. Hunter Rogerson is the lighting designer. Hannah Roberts is the box office manager and school show coordinator.

Tickets are $10 for students and senior citizens and $12 for adults. They may be purchased at wallacehall.org/tickets or at the door.

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