Tim Robbins and The Actors’ Gang are putting on a fascinating-looking adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four in Barcelona. The production deliberately ties in with contemporary concerns about surveillance in the city, and in Spain and beyond. This production has already toured the USA, and you can find out more about it here.
Of course, this is far from the first adaptation of Orwell’s novel. Earlier this year, which is the 5oth anniversary of the publication of this seminal work, the UK’s National Media Museum put on a special version with John Hurt playing Winston Smith as he did in the 1984 cinema version, directed by Michael Radford (with its chilly soundtrack by The Eurythmics, which many regard as inappropriate but I really like!). The best version I have seen was done by Northern Stage in my old home city of Newcastle. This was a violent, uncompromising version (see this review in The Guardian) mixing live cinema and theatre. There was also the much earlier 1956 film directed by Michael Anderson and starring Edmond O’Brien, which shared with the climate in which the novel was written, the air of post-war ruin and privation (or at least its memory). Of course, one could regard Terry Gilliam’s Brazil as a riff off Nineteen Eighty-Four – but he’s never a director for a straight version!
(thanks to Aaron Martin for pointing me in the direction of the Barcelona production…)