Orwell’s Children

Category: stage 364

Theatre UNB begins its season with a trio of short plays October 27-29 at Memorial Hall.

Austin Taylor as Lionel, Ian Clark as Des, and Jordan Bourque as the Blindfolded Man in Harold Pinter’s The New World Order. Photo by Mike Johnston.

Theatre UNB’s first production of the year features a trio of short plays by acclaimed British playwrights Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill that are sure to inspire chills this Halloween weekend with their dystopian visions of totalitarian states and a world on the brink of collapse.

The 90 minute production running over three nights will include Pinter’s Party Time and The New World Order and Churchill’s Far Away.

All three plays find strong parallels to George Orwell’s classic 1984, and follow director Len Falkenstein’s familiar trajectory of politically charged work.

“I chose these three plays because they are all connected by common themes and ideas,” said Falkenstein, who heads the school’s drama program. “Though they were written by two different authors about ten years apart, they also come out of relatively the same place and time, and were written in response to a common set of circumstances.”

Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill are both known for their political views and activism expressed during their careers. Pinter, born in 1930, become a conscientious objector at the age of 18 refusing to comply with British military conscription. He was later a supporter for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Anti-Apartheid Movement, while Churchill tackled sexual politics, the abuse of power and feminist themes throughout much of her work.

“Pinter and Churchill certainly were aware of each other’s work as fellow major figures in British theatre and both writers had a similar trajectory to their careers, as both were interested in issues of politics and power from early on but had a period late in their careers where their works became even more explicitly political,” said Falkenstein. “These plays are taken from that era for each writer, and although they are three distinct works, when viewed together in the course of a single evening it’s possible to see them as a continuous three act play, with the works functioning in dialogue with each other.”

“I felt it would be a neat idea to put them together for that reason,” he said.  “From a practical perspective, since I am doing these plays with a drama class that started mid-September, it worked nicely to break the group into smaller teams to tackle three works that are each short but meaty, given the tight timeline we had to production.”

Orwell’s Children is directed by Len Falkenstein, with design and technical direction by Mike Johnston, and features a cast of ten UNB drama students.

Orwell’s Children | October 27-29, 2016 | Memorial Hall, UNB | 7:30pm | Tickets: $14 (regular), $10 (seniors and underemployed) $8 (students) | All tickets available at the door

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