Big Brother is Watching You.


Big Brother is Watching You.
Established in 2006, shake & stir has rapidly become one of Australia’s leading contemporary
youth theatre companies. shake & stir produce an annual season of in-school and Mainhouse
productions and in-school workshops reaching a combined total audience of over 180,000. Inschool productions include 50-minute Shakespeare adaptations, Shakespeare compilations and a
program of moral-based performances targeting key issues affecting youth. shake & stir was the
first company to offer a Shakespeare performance specifically created for primary students. shake
& stir’s Mainhouse productions extend upon the in-schools program targeting audiences both
young and young at heart. In 2011, shake & stir’s Helpmann Award nominated STATESPEARE
embarked on a four-month national tour, visiting theatres in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and TAS. In 2012,
shake & stir staged their adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 at QPAC. This sold-out production
received rave reviews, broke box office records and embarks on an extensive national tour in
2014. In 2013 shake & stir presented 3 Mainhouse productions. In January, the company's
youngest Mainhouse production Out Damn Snot was co-produced with La Boite Theatre Company,
shake & stir’s multi award-winning adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm toured theatres
nationally and in August, the company’s newest production Tequila Mockingbird, premiered at the
Cremorne Theatre QPAC. In addition to a busy annual performance schedule, shake & stir theatre
co has an after school drama program reaching approx 400 primary and secondary students
across South East QLD each week.
shake & stir theatre co is a privately owned company, co-founded by Ross Balbuziente, Nelle Lee
and Nick Skubij.
For full information please visit
About the Show: All you need to know
Shhh! Theatre Etiquette: The do’s and don’ts
George Orwell: A brief bio
In a Nutshell: A contextual summary
Meet and Greet: The cast & crew
Classroom Activities - Pre and Post Show
Activity 1. Warm Ups: Touch your toes Comrade!
Activity 2. He who controls the present controls the past
Activity 3. Word Bingo
Activity 4. What’s in Room 101?
Activity 5. The Ministry of Graphics
Activity 6. London’s Burning
Activity 7. Big Brother is Watching You
Activity 8. Newspeak
Activity 9. Love at any cost?
Activity 10. The Ministry of Tech
Activity 11. Big Brother: Fiction to Reality
Classroom Resources
Discussion Questions and probing statements
Character Profiles: Winston, Julia & blank
Script Excepts
Useful links
Responding/Essay Questions
Writing a Critical Review – modeled example
Dramatic Elements
A note to Teachers using the
Teachers’ Notes...
All of the activities in this booklet have been created for pre or post show. Some are more
suited to a Drama classroom, whilst others were created for English or History - BUT all
can be adapted for use in your subject area! You are the teacher, you know your students
Please enjoy the activities and the show. If you have any questions about the notes,
please email the Education Manager, Naomi Russell: [email protected]
Also, we would love to hear from you or your students - if they want to share any
completed creative tasks or have questions please email: [email protected]
TIME: 85 mins + 10 min Q&A
Suitability: Grades 9-12. Teacher discretion needed for early high
school years due to high level adult themes, partial nudity and low level
coarse language.
ACTIVITIES FOR USE IN: Drama, English & Film, TV/New Media
Big Brother is back.
Oceania; a Nation perpetually at war, where cameras watch every move and Thought
Police roam the streets. A place Winston Smith calls home.
By day, Winston is an editor at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history to align the past with
the radical political agenda of the ruling party and its illusive leader, Big Brother.
By night, Winston pursues a forbidden love affair with the mysterious Julia in an attempt to
rebel against the oppressive regime set down by the party and maintain some control over
his otherwise totally controlled life.
When Winston and Julia are discovered, they are violently separated, detained and
prepared for conversion. Locked in the Ministry of Love and interrogated by the quietly
terrifying O'Brien, Winston is beaten, manipulated and subjected to sickening torture in an
attempt to make him reject dreams of liberation and understand that free thought and logic
is the only true enemy.
From the team that brought you the sold out seasons of Animal Farm & Te quila
Mockingbird, this new stage adaptation brings George Orwell's final novel screaming into
the present. Strap yourself in for this terrifically frightening theatrical event featuring a cast
of some of Queensland's most acclaimed artists, set against a dynamic digital backdrop.
This production is sure to stun as it contemplates the ultimate crime against humanity - the
total destruction of truth, freedom and individuality in favor of surveillance, obedience and
Creators// Ross Balbuziente, Nelle Lee & Nick Skubij
Co-Adapters// Nelle Lee & Nick Skubij
Director// Michael Futcher
Designer// Josh McIntosh
Lighting Designer// Jason Glenwright
Sound Designer// Guy Webster
Media Producers// optikal bloc
Education Manager // Naomi Russell
Featuring// Ross Balbuziente, Nelle Lee, David Whitney, Bryan Probets
& Nick Skubij
shake & stir is a live theatre company and many of your students may be
unfamiliar with standards of behavior for a live theatre audience. Below are
some important guidelines for your consideration. Please go over these
points with your students prior to the performance:
We encourage your students to actively participate in our performances by
applauding, laughing and asking/answering questions at the end.
Food or drink is not allowed during a performance as it is distracting to
both the actors and other audience members.
General chitchat, talking and moving around the theatre while the
performance is underway is strictly forbidden. Live theatre is different to
Television or Film – the actors on stage can hear and see as well! If a
student needs to leave the performance space for any reason during a
performance, please ensure this is done quickly and quietly.
Questions are welcome and encouraged but will be restricted to the
designated 10min question time at the end of each performance.
Please ensure that your students switch off their mobile phones and leave
them in their bags before the performance begins. Photographs of any
kind are strictly forbidden.
Finally - enjoy the show!
This was adapted from the biography found at:
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name
George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is characterised by
clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism
and belief in socialism.
Considered perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell
wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and controversial journalism. He is best known
for the dystopian novel 1984 and the allegorical novella Animal Farm, which together
have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author.
1. Write a synonym for all the underlined words.
2. Re-write the mini biography as if it was for Year 7 students.
George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair on 25 June 1903 in eastern India, the son
of a British colonial civil servant. He was educated in England and, after he
left Eton, joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, then a British colony.
He resigned in 1927 and decided to become a writer. In 1928, he moved to
Paris where lack of success as a writer forced him into a series of menial
jobs. He described his experiences in his first book, 'Down and Out in Paris
and London', published in 1933. He took the name George Orwell, shortly
before its publication. This was followed by his first novel, 'Burmese Days',
in 1934.
An anarchist in the late 1920s, by the 1930s he had begun to consider
himself a socialist. In 1936, he was commissioned to write an account of
poverty among unemployed miners in northern England, which resulted in
'The Road to Wigan Pier' (1937). Late in 1936, Orwell travelled to Spain to
fight for the Republicans against Franco's Nationalists. He was forced to flee
in fear of his life from Soviet-backed communists who were suppressing
revolutionary socialist dissenters. The experience turned him into a lifelong
Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In
1943, he became literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly left-wing magazine.
By now he was a prolific journalist, writing articles, reviews and books.
In 1945, Orwell's 'Animal Farm' was published. A political fable set in a
farmyard but based on Stalin's betrayal of the Russian Revolution, it made
Orwell's name and ensured he was financially comfortable for the first time
in his life. 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' was published four years later. Set in an
imaginary totalitarian future, the book made a deep impression, with its title
and many phrases - such as 'Big Brother is watching you', 'newspeak' and
'doublethink' - entering popular use. By now Orwell's health was
deteriorating and he died of tuberculosis on 21 January 1950.
This biography was found at:
The dystopian setting in 1984 is London, England; which has been renamed Airstrip One.
The world is constantly at war, but the enemy changes all the time. London is an important
setting in Orwell’s book as it was (and still remains) a power hub of the world. A great
contextual lesson would be to read George Orwell’s essay “Why I Write”
( and discuss as a class. Does this put his
work into context? Consider that it was written before he wrote 1984 - how does this
change the reading of the novel?
A brilliant animated summary of the novel can be found at SparkNotes:
Key Facts:
Oceania: North America, South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and
United Kingdom.
Eurasia: Soviet Union and continental Europe.
Eastasia: China, Japan, Korea.
Oceania’s Government:
Ministry of Truth: [Minitrue] In charge of the falsification of the past in order to align
with whatever Big Brother wants the public to believe. They are in charge of creating and
using the new language Newspeak.
Ministry of Love: [Miniluv] In charge of torture and the brainwashing of people into
loving Big Brother. This is where Room 101 is.
Ministry of Plenty: [Miniplenty] In charge of Oceania’s planned economy. They
oversee the rations for the people in both the Outer Party and for the Proles.
Ministry of Peace: [Minipax] The militant wing of the government - in charge of the
armed forces.
Meet the Cast and Crew:
Ross Balbuziente - Cast
For shake & stir: Ross is the Co-Artistic Director of
shake & stir and has created over 20 youth productions
and performed in over 1000 performances. He cocreated and performed in STATESPEARE (2009,
2011, 2011 National Tour), ANIMAL FARM (2011,
2013 National Tour), 1984 (2012), Tequila Mockingbird
(2013). Other Theatre: Romeo & Juliet (QTC), Julius
Caesar (La Boite), Citizen Jane (JUTE), A Midsummer
Night's Dream, Two Weeks with the Queen, The
Taming of the Shrew, Little Shop of Horrors (Harvest
Rain Theatre Company), Assassins (Warehaus
Theatre/QPAC), Of Our Own Volition (Spangled
Drongo Productions/Metro Arts), As You Like It, The
Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus and Monkey and
His Magic Journey to the West (Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe). Ross developed and
performed in an original Shakespeare compilation production Strangers on the Globe
Stage London. As Director: Out Damn Snot, Statespeare (shake & stir/La Boite); Thus I
Die!, Bard-Wired and Love is an Ass (University of Southern Queensland). shake & stir’s
in-school productions including Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, Shake Up!, Tragic
Magic, Chop Logic, Bard to the Bone, I Crave My Space, Say it to My Face Book,
Vacant and Popular.
Nelle Lee - Cast
For shake & stir: Nelle is a founding member and CoArtistic director of shake & sir and is kept busy each
dayperforming, teaching and creating youth theatre. Nelle
co-created, wrote and performed in STATESPEARE
(2009, 2011, 2011 national tour), ANIMAL FARM (2011,
2013 National Tour), 1984 (2012), Out Damn Snot (2013)
and Tequila Mockingbird (2013). Other Theatre: The
Crucible, Maxine Mellor's Mystery Project, Property of the
Clan (Queensland Theatre Company). Complete Works of
William Shakespeare by Chicks & ALICE (Harvest Rain
Theatre Company). Nelle also appeared in Magda's
Movement/Metro Arts Independence), Catholic School
Girls (Three Sisters Productions) and Newton's Law (Strut 'n' Fret/QLD Arts Council). Film
& Television: Sea Patrol seasons 2 & 3, Mortified and the feature film JUCY which
premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010. Training: Bachelor Theatre
Arts (Acting) from the University of Southern Queensland. Awards: 2011 USQ Alumnus
Award, 2011 USQ Arts Faculty Award.
Bryan Probets - Cast
For shake & stir: ANIMAL FARM (2011, 2013 National
Tour), 1984 (2012), Tequila Mockingbird (2013).
Other Theatre: Pygmalion, Waiting For Godot, Taking
Aim, The Alchemist, The Importance of Being Earnest,
Private Fears in Public Places, A Christmas Carol, The
Venetian Twins, Scapin, The Lonesome West, Mano Nera,
The Cherry Orchard, The Road to She-Devil's Salon, The
Works 2003 (Queensland Theatre Company); Edward
Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness (with Sydney Theatre
Company), As You Like It, The Wishing Well, The Danger
Age, The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay, Operator,
Crèche and Burn, Way Out West, Milo's Wake, Hermes
Company/Queensland Arts Council) all for La Boite. The Composer is Dead (Out of the
Box); Australia The Show! (Hothouse Theatre Company); The A to Z of Cabaret (Brisbane
Cabaret Festival/Qld Arts Council); Zooillogical (Kite Theatre/Schnapper Head), Credo the
Innocence of God (Queensland Music Festival); The Amazing Magician Goes Troppo
(Queensland Ballet); Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, The Woman in Black (Harvest
Rain); King Lear (Trocadero); The Legend of King O'Malley (On Giant's Shoulders); The
Zoo Story (QUT); Hamlet (Matrix Theatre/QPAC). Film: The Great Gatsby, Singularity, A
Heartbeat Away, Daybreakers, Triangle, The Proposition, Nim's Island, Subdivision, The
Horseman, Punishment and Hildegarde. Television: Monarch Cove, Starter Wife, Fat
Cow Motel, Love Weights, Farmkids. Awards: Matilda Award (2012), Two Matilda
Commendations (2003), MEAA Award for Emerging Artist (2003). Training: Bryan is a
graduate of USQ.
Nick Skubij – Cast
For shake & stir: Nick co-created and performed in
STATESPEARE (2009, 2011, 2011 National Tour). As
a co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of shake & stir
theatre co, Nick has devised, directed and performed in
numerous productions including: ANIMAL FARM
(2011, 2013 National Tour) , 1984 (2012), Out Damn
Snot (2013) and Tequila Mockingbird (2013). Other
Theatre: Nick has performed with some of Australia's
leading entertainers including Zoe Ventoura, Colin
Lane, Glenn Shorrock and Rhonda Burchmore.
Performances include Romeo & Juliet (QTC),
EUROBEAT (QPAC), Citizen Jane (JUTE), Crackle,
Snap, Pop (JUTE/QTC), Surviving Jonah Salt
(KEDT/JUTE), Flutter (JUTE), The 25th Annual Putnam
County Spelling Bee (Oscar Theatre Co), The Fiveways (Brisbane Festival) and A
Midsummer Night's Dream (Harvest Rain Theatre Company). Nick has also worked for
Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe in 2005-2006. He has performed at a number of major arts
festivals including Scene Change Playwrights Festival (Tasmania), NT Festival of the Arts,
Festival Cairns and Brisbane Festival. Film & Television: Second series of Channel 7's
popular children's television program TOYBOX.
For shake & stir: Debut Other Theatre: Mrs Warren’s
Profession, Much Ado About Nothing, Summer Rain,
Darlinghurst Nights, Woman In Mind (Sydney Theatre
Company) Henry 4, The Duchess Of Malfi, The
Alchemist, As You Like it, Macbeth, The Tempest,
Romeo and Juliet(Bell Shakespeare) The Power of
Yes(Belvoir). The Winter’s Tale, The Maids’ Tragedy, On
Our Selection ,The Real Thing, Medea ,A Fortunate Life,
Cyrano De Bergerac (Melbourne Theatre Company)
Cho Cho (National Theatre of China).
Commercial Musical Theatre includes: Rock Of Ages,
Damn Yankees, Monty Python’s Spamalot, The
Producers, Sunset Boulevard, Man Of La Mancha,
They’re Playing Our Song, Cabaret, The Phantom of
The Opera, A Chorus Line, The Wizard of Oz, Chess, Little Shop of Horrors. Film: Fatal
Honeymoon, A Wreck A Tangle, Doomrunners, Les Patterson Saves the World. TV includes:
Wonderland, Penelope K By The Way, Legend Of The Seeker, Media Watch, Home And
Away, McLeod’s Daughters, Marriage Acts ,Water Rats, Captain James Cook, Palace of
Dreams, A Country Practice, Prisoner. Training: NIDA Graduate 1982. Proud member of
Actors’ Equity.
Michael Futcher - Director
Fo r s hake & s tir: ANIMAL FARM (2011) , 1984 (2012), Tequila Mockingbird (2013).
Othe r The atre : Michael has worked over the past 25 years with many of Queensland's
major theatre companies in various capacities, including actor, director, dramaturg and
writer, and, with Helen Howard, is the joint artistic director of Matrix Theatre. As Dire c to r:
For Queensland Theatre Company: Grimm Tales, Rabbit Hole, The Glass Menagerie, Oz
Shorts, A Life In The Theatre (Noosa Long Weekend), Blithe Spirit (Assistant Director) and
Explosions (education production); For La Boite: Walking By Apple Tree Creek, The
Drowning Bride, James and Johnno, Salt and, in co-production with Matrix Theatre and the
Brisbane Festival, the critically-acclaimed A Beautiful Life, which toured nationally in 2000
winning Michael Best Director at the Victorian Green Room Awards along with three other
awards; For Matrix Theatre: The Wishing Well, The King and the Corpse!, 1347 and
Cutting Loose. In 2009, Michael's production of The Kursk (Matrix/Metro
Independents/Critical stages) toured nationally to over 35 venues receiving a Helpmann
Award nomination and 3 Matilda Awards, including Best Director. Other productions
include: Dirty Apple (Opera Qld/Backbone), Jane Eyre, Cymbeline, The Crucible, Three
Sisters, The Duel, The Cherry Orchard, Camille (QUT), Jane Eyre (USQ) and Macbeth
(Rheingold Theatre Club, London). Awards : Michael has won several Matilda Awards, a
Green Room Award and a Playlab Award, and been nominated for a Helpmann Award, an
Awgie, and 2 Queensland Premier's Drama Awards.
To uc h Yo ur To e s Co m rad e s !
A traditional warm up with a twist. Teacher in role as a Party Member who
shouts the warm up orders to the students. Teacher should only use a
student’s last name or “comrade” when ordering them to do something.
Laughing or general laziness should not be tolerated. Students should get
“vaporized” if they do something wrong. It is up to you to decide what is
involved with being ‘vaporized’!
Orders/warm ups could include:
S tre tc hing :
“6079 Smith, W! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better
than that! You’re not trying. Lower, please! That’s better comrade.
Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.”
Chanting the Party S lo g an:
“War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength”
To uc hing to e s :
“You see m y knees aren’t bent. You can all do it if you want
to....anyone under forty-five is perfectly capable of touching his toes.”
Bre athing e xe rc is e s
“, nothing
was your own
except the
few cubic
inside your
He w ho c o ntro ls the p re s e nt c o ntro ls the p as t.
This activity takes a little bit of forward planning. As the teacher, think of
something that you can change about the appearance of the room (eg
remove some of the display) or a particular outfit, item of jewelry, tie etc, or
play a new game one lesson and make some sort of comment about it. Don’t
make a big deal about it, but take a note of what you changed (for your
memory’s sake).
A few lessons later hand out slips of paper to the students and ask them to
write down everything they remember about the item. EG: ‘Write down as
much as you can about the old display in the room OR what I was wearing on
Tuesday OR the rules of...’ Make sure they write down details of the
event/item. They must be specific.
Then... get them to walk around sharing their details with others. They need
to find the people who agree with their memory. Once they have formed little
clumps get them to decide on their main ‘facts’. One by one each group
should say their facts and fight out to get to the truth.
The aim of the activity is to show students that their memories are not always
correct, and everyone remembers different details.
Whe re to ne xt? This could be a starter activity to lead into discussion about
thoughtcrime, the Thought Police, O’Brien’s torture of Winston etc.
“When you delude
yourself into thinking
that you see something,,
you assume that
everyone else sees the
same thing as you.”
Wo rd Bing o !
The following game is great as a starter in class. This game gets students
familiar with some of the language in 1984 and also gauges their prior
knowledge. It can be played multiple times with the same or different words
depending on the level of the class or challenge required.
Ho w to p lay ....
1. Put up a list of 20 words on the board.
2. Students draw a naughts and crosses table in books.
3. Students c ho o s e 9 wo rds that they think they know the me aning of and
write these in their table.
4. Teacher rando mly reads out the me aning s of the words on the list (but
not the word itself).
5. Students cross off words they have when they hear the meaning of it.
6. Bingo is won by being the first to get a line of 3 (or all 9 depending on how
long you want the game to last!).
Two example lists can be found on the following page...
room 101
List One
Meaning to read out....
List Two
Meaning to read out....
The author of 1984 and Animal
The new name for England and its
The new language Winston must
translate articles into.
Indefinite, unclear or uncertain.
To think about doing something
against Big Brother.
A belief system where a country’s wealth
is controlled by the wealthy and they invest
in the poor to make money.
The ‘common people’.
artificial sweetener.
The little voice in your head that tells
you when you’re doing something
The way in which Big Brother can watch
and send messages to people in their
To be awake and alert.
The secret society that Winston believes
are against Big Brother.
The be oblivious to what’s really
going on around you.
Inner party
The people who are the closest to Big
Brother and get all the best rations.
To seek justice for a wrong
especially in a mean way.
One of the continents that Oceania can be
at war with.
To commit a crime through your
expression on your face.
To make people or an area poor.
To think about two opposing ideas at
the same time.
The rank or order of things/people in
Thought Police
The people who seek out criminals
and punish them.
untiring, incapable of being tired out.
Room 101
The room where your biggest fears
are realised.
hard, menial or dull work.
To question someone in order to
seek the truth.
To tell or create a lie.
To twist something to your own
rude, crude or vulgar.
To be unfaithful or disappoint
someone by turning against them.
All powerful.
When you hold someone else
double plusgood
Very very good.
Being too scared to do something.
To claim that up is down or left is right,
even when it contradicts the facts.
To hate.
The man who wrote ‘the book’ that was
written as a bible for the Brotherhood. The
Boring or long winded.
A character who Winston believes to be
good, who ends up betraying him the
The main character in 1984.
Ministry of Truth
The place where Winston works re writing
history so it matches what Big Brother
To be jealous of someone or
spying on, or using spies to find out
What’s in Room 101?
Ask students to access shake & stir’s promotional website for 1984: either before or after this activity, depending on
their prior knowledge.
Starter: As students walk into the classroom hand out the fear statements
on the following page and ask students to read them aloud. Lead the class in
a discussion around the idea of fear, and then move onto Room 101 and its
purpose in 1984. Lead students through what types of things they might find
in Room 101. After the discussion allow students time to think about what
would be in their Room 101. Ask them to write it on a slip of paper and place
in a box at the front of the room. Teacher can then read these all out to the
class, allowing for anonymity.
“We shall
meet in the
place where
there is no
fear statements:
Fear is the path to the Dark
Side. Fear leads to anger, anger
leads to hate, hate leads to
(Yoda; Star Wars Episode 1)
Cowards die many times before
their deaths
The valiant never taste of
death but once.
(Shakespeare; Julius Caesar)
If there is one thing which I
would banish from the earth it
is fear.
(Henry Ford)
There is no living thing that is
not afraid when it faces
danger. The true courage is in
facing danger when you are
( The Wizard of Oz)
Fear cannot hurt you
anymore than a dream.
(William Golding;
The Lord of the Flies)
There is nothing to fear
except fear itself.
Fear is contagious.
You can catch it.
(Neil Gaiman;
The Graveyard Book)
The fear of death is the most
unjustified of all fears, for
there Is no risk of accident
for someone who' is dead.
(Albert Einstein)
1. Create a series of freeze frames / movement pieces depicting Winston’s
time in Room 101. Have a narrator read out paraphrased quotes in a
variety of ways. EG: as David Attenborough, as a Mad Scientist, as Big
Brother (from the novel) or an immitation of the TV show. Discuss the
effect each of these have on the audience, which was their favourite and
2. Why was it important that Winston knew about Room 101 whilst he was
being tortured in the Ministry of Love, but he didn’t know what was in it
until the very end? What are rats symbolic of? Why were they the thing that
broke him in the end? In small groups create Julia’s version of Room 101
and decide what broke her in the end. Dramatise and show to the class.
3. Imagine that Room 101 is now a room where every fear is held, but it could
be locked away forever. Write a speech aiming to persuade listeners to
banish forever one thing that you would hate to be in Room 101 so it can
never scare you again. For example: If you wanted to banish clowns to
Room 101 you must persuade listeners why clowns should be locked in
Room 101 forever.
4. How is fear used as a weapon in 1984? Why could it control people?
Create a propaganda poster (for a real or imagined event/political
agenda) that uses fear as its main device. You could link this to a modern
political event with news articles relevant to your class.
5. Complete the following statements to create a poem (use as a starting off
point if your can’t get going on your own)
When I was 5 I was afraid of...
When I was 10 I was afraid of....
When I was 15 I was afraid of....
Right now I’m afraid of….
In 5 years time I don’t want to be afraid of....
In 50 years time I might be afraid of....
The Ministry of Graphics. [Minigraf]
Using a memorable moment from 1984 (there are plenty) create a graphic
novel page that represents this moment visually. Use as many of the
following conventions of graphic novels as possible:
Graphic Novel Conventions:
**Speech/Thought Bubbles
**Text Boxes
**Sound words
**Movement lines
**Various angles and shot sizes
**Framing / guttering
**Emotive words
Long Shot
MID Shot
Extreme Close Up
Close Up
The s e pages are from a 1984 comic which is has a fre e download from
Activity 6.
Lo nd o n’s Burning
This activity focuses on visual media to create a music video with a message.
Use the worksheet below with students as a homework task, in class project
or formative assessment item.
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery,
Ignorance is Strength.
Tas k: Using your knowledge of the themes of 1984 and George Orwell,
create a music video depicting a particular didac tic me s s ag e .
Co nditio ns :
Use a combination of still and moving images
Use a combination of retrieved video (eg from youtube) and your own
Use a variety of shot types/camera angles/filming techniques
Be creative in your approach! Think outside the square.
Que s tio ns to c o ns ide r:
What is the message you are trying to convey in the video?
What parallels can you draw from real life that you could include in
the music video?
What conventions could you use to make your video
How can you make your message known without explicitly telling the
Can you juxtapose music and images in any way?
If you can’t think of a s ong to us e , cons ide r one of the following:
“Orange s and Le m ons ” -traditional nursery rhyme
“Us and The m ” -Pink Floyd
“Eve ry Bre ath Y ou Take ” -The Police
“Te s tify” -Rage Against the Machine
“London’s Burning” - The Clash
“Mis s ing” - Everything But the Girl
Activity 7.
Big Bro the r is Watc hing Yo u.
Imagine a world where the government saw everything you did; read every
text message you wrote; every site you visited online; heard every word you
spoke. You live in constant fear, you have no escape.
Now imagine you have found one place where they can’t find you, one place
where you cannot be traced. What would you do? What would you say?
Choose one of the following formats and write a creative piece responding to
these ideas.
Diary entry
Dystopian short story
Script writing
Protest poetry
“Anything that
hinted at
corruption always
filled him with a
wild hope.”
Activity 8.
Ne w s p e ak.
This activity focuses on the idea of words and the power in them. In pairs, ask
students to workshop the script below and then complete the activities that
Extract from Scene 5:
S yme :
It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course,
the great wastage is in the verbs and the adjectives, but there are
hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. And antonyms.
After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the
opposite of another word? A word contains it’s opposite in itself.
Wins to n: Really?
S yme :
Take ‘good’ for example. What need is there for a word
like ‘bad’ when ‘ungood’ will do the just the same thing, or better
because it’s an exact opposite. Or if you want a stronger word than
‘good’ what sense is there in having a huge string of vague useless
words like ‘splendid’ or ‘excellent’? ‘Plusgood’ covers the meaning,
or ‘double-plusgood’ if you want something stronger still. Don’t you
see the beauty in that Winston? It was BB’s idea originally of
W ins ton’s inne r thoughts .
Wins to n: One of these days you will be vapourized. You are too
intelligent. You see too clearly and speak too plainly. The party does
not like such people. One day you will simply disappear. It is written
in your face.
Student Activities:
1. Discuss with a pair what you think the purpose of this excerpt is.
What do we learn about each of the characters?
2. Why would Big Bro the r want to decrease the amount of words in the
dictionary? What would that do to communication?
3. Look up the word po rtmante au and write down its meaning.
What examples exist in this script excerpt and in 1984?
4. Binary Opposites are two ideas that are opposite and are used in texts so
the audience understands the message. For example love/hate is a binary
opposite. We only understand love because we understand hate. What will
happen if Big Bro the r abolishes some words/ideas?
5. Recreate the extract using words in a non conventional way. What
conventions could you use to show Winston’s thoughts? Present back to
the class for feedback.
6. According to the novel, Ne ws pe ak is supposed to be fully integrated into
mainstream life by 2050. After referring to the Appendix: The Principles of
Newspeak and have
a go at writing a scene between Syme and Winston that uses more
Newspeak words.
“dont you see
the whole aim of
newspeak is to
narrow the
range of
Activity 9.
Lo v e at any c o s t?
Do you think Winston and Julia were in love? Were they simply clutching at
any human contact they could find? Consider that before Winston received a
love note from Julia he had “c o nte m p late d s m as hing he r s kull w ith a
c o b b le s to ne ”.
Student Activities:
1. Recreate Julia and Winston’s first encounter as a series of freeze frames
with no dialogue. Make the movements strong and your emotions evident.
The audience should be able to feel exactly what you feel. (The encounter
can be found at the beginning of Part II of the novel)
2. Add in two words per freeze frame. Choose wisely. Are they spoken aloud
or are they thoughts in the characters’ heads?
3. Now, add in the entire script, but keep the heightened movements. Try out
different emotions to play with the idea that these two simply crave human
4. Modify the scene to change Winston’s reactions. Pretend, instead, that he
does hate her and would contemplate “s m as hing he r s kull w ith a
c o b b le s to ne .” Workshop and improvise the scene with Winston reacting in
this way.
“at the sight of
the words i love
you the desire to
stay alive had
welled up in him.”
Winston is returning to his cubicle from the bathroom. As he makes his way back to
his desk, he spots JULIA coming toward him from the other direction. Her arm is in a
sling. When she is near him, she falls flat on her face. Winston tosses up whether to
run or to help her. He stops and makes toward her to help her up.
You’re hurt.
It’s nothing. It’ll be all right in a moment.
But it your arm alright?
It’s fine. I just hurt it on the printing press. That’s all.
He helps her up.
It’s nothing It only hurt for a second. Thanks, comrade.
She moves away. Winston is left standing alone. He very subtly acknowledges his
hand – Julia has slipped a folded piece of paper into it. He puts his hand in his
pocket and heads back to his cubicle. He throws the piece of paper on his desk
among the other papers and gets back to work. He continually glances at the paper.
Winston rolls up his completed work and slips it into tube. He draws a new bundle of
work towards him and on top of it is Julia’s paper.
Winston sits at down at his Speakwrite. Rolls a bundle of work and deposits it.
Ref times January, 1984. Rewrite full wise…
He can’t wait any longer. He pulls out the note and flattens it out on the desk in front
of him.
Julia (V/O):
“I love you.”
Winston freezes. Reads it again and then shoves it down the memory hole.
Activity 10.
The Minis try o f Te c h. [Minite x]
Technology plays a very important part in all our lives. It helps us, brings us
closer together, and in some ways, controls us. Bearing in mind that YOU are
the tech savvy generation, s hake & s tir the atre c o would like you to create a
piece of multimedia for them! Your task is to create a documentary/multi
modal piece teaching the youth of today about the issues surrounding
technology. BE CREATIVE with it and try and think about the various ways
technology, the media and its applications control our lives. What does the
youth of today NEED to know NOW?
Send a link to your project to s hake & s tir: [email protected]
Activity 11.
BIG BROTHER: Fic tio n to Re ality
The Big Bro the r TV show stems from Orwell’s 1984. What components of
this TV show were inspired from the novel? Make a list as a class of all the
conventions, techniques & ideas that are similar in both the novel and TV
show. What’s different about it? What have they changed for a Reality TV
The Diary Room / Winston’s diary
Contestants win a prize on TV show
The Channel 9 Production team has asked for some fresh ideas from
teenagers for the TV show BIG BROTHER. Thinking about the novel and the
play versions of 1984, what concepts could be taken and used in the TV
series? Write a pitch to present to the Channel 9 Production team with at
least 3 new ideas that could be incorporated into the show.
What is power? Think about leadership and what makes someone a
good or bad leader. Write down the 5 best/worst qualities of a leader.
Technology is all around us, there is no escaping it. What control does it
have on your life? Could you give it up for a period of time? How long?
What differences did you notice between the play and the novel? Which
did you enjoy more and why? Create a PMI (plus/minus/interesting)
chart with your findings.
How do you release anger? What makes you angry? How can anger be
used in a healthy way?
What is the purpose of 2 m inute s hate ?
Have you ever felt that leaders contradicted themselves? Think about
politicians and the promises they make before getting elected. Why
does this happen? Why are humans such hypocritical people? Have
you ever done something you said you wouldn’t do?
What is meant by the Party Slogan: War is Pe ac e , Fre e do m is
S lave ry, Ig no ranc e is S tre ng th? Why is Oceania constantly at war and
what effect does this have on its inhabitants?
How does Orwell use foreshadowing in the novel? Think of specific
examples. How were these shown in the stage version?
Discuss the quote “If the re is ho p e , it lie s in the p ro le s ”. What do you
think would happen if the proles did revolt? Compare to real life
revolutions/protests/riots. Research the recent London and Cronulla
riots and discuss their outcome in society.
Do you think Big Brother actually exists? What about Goldstein?
The novel ends with the quote: “He had w o n the v ic to ry o v e r him s e lf.
He lo v e d Big Bro the r.” Why did the novel end this way? Did it have to
end this way?
What is totalitarianism and where else in history has it been seen
Discuss the pros and cons of socialism VS communism. If you had to
live under one way of life, which would you choose and why?
1984 has been banned in several parts of the world since its publication
in 1949. Why would this be so? What parts of the novel would cause
the most concern?
References to 1984 exist in all forms of pop culture. Why has it had
such an impact on writers/directors/musicians/illustrators?
Name: Winston Smith
Age: 39
Occupation:: Member of the Outer
Party. Works for the Records Department
in the Ministry of Truth.
Family: Married with no children.
Doesn’t know where his wife is.
Physical description: Looks older
than he is. Has varicose veins. Has 5 false
Biggest Fear: Rats.
Feelings towards Big brother:
Hates Big Brother and wishes to join the
Brotherhood. Ends up loving Big Brother.
If he found $1000 dollars on the ground what would he do?
If he could divorce his wife and marry Julia would he?
what else could have been in Room 101 for Winston?
Quote that sums him up:
If he could change one thing about himself what would it be?
Why doesn’t he?
What is silenced about this character?
Name: Julia
Age: 26
Occupation:: _______________________________
Family: ____________________________________
Physical description: _____________________
Biggest Fear:______________________________
Feelings towards Big brother:
If she found $1000 dollars on the ground what would she do?
Quote that sums her up:
Her main role in the narrative:
What is silenced about this character?
Name: __________________________________
Age: ___________________________________
Family: _______________________________
Physical description: _______________
Biggest Fear: ________________________
Feelings towards Big brother:
If they found $1000 dollars on the ground
what would they do?
main role in the narrative:
Does this character remind you of anyone from another text/real life?
Quote that sums them up:
Script excerpt – Obrien’s house
O’Brien’s apartment. O’Brien sits studying a slip of paper. After some time, he pulls a
speakwrite towards him.
Items one comma five comma seven approved full-wise stop
suggestion contains item six doubleplus ridiculous verging crimethink cancel stop
unproceed constructionwise antegetting plusfull estimates machinery overheads stop end
Julia and Winston enter, lead by a servant. They stand at the opposite end of the room.
O’Brien see’s them and stands up abruptly and walks towards them with a stern look on
his face.
As he passes the telescreen, he stops turns aside and presses a switch on the wall. It
switches off. Julia utters a tiny sound of surprise.
You can turn it off!
Yes. We have that privilege.
O’Brien stands opposite Julia and Winston. No one speaks. After some time, O’Brien loses
his stern expression and his face turns almost to a smile.
Shall I say it, or will you?
I’ll say it. That thing is really turned off?
Yes. Everything is turned off. We are alone.
Winston considers. He looks at Martin.
Martin is one of us.
Winston takes a deep breath and decides to plunge in.
We have come here because we believe that there is some kind of
conspiracy, some kind of secret organisation working against the Party, and that you are
involved in it. We want to join it we want to work for it. We are enemies of the Party. We
disbelieve in the principles of the Party. We are thought-criminals. We are also adulterers.
I tell you this because we want to put ourselves at your mercy. If you want us to
incriminate ourselves in any other way, we are ready.
Martin pours wine from the decanter into the glasses. Julia picks hers up and sniffs it
It is called wine. You will have read about it in books, no doubt. I’m
afraid not much of it gets to the Outer Party. A toast - to our Leader: To Emmanuel
To Goldstein.
They all drink.
Then there is such a person as Goldstein?
Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where? I do not know.
Thought Police?
And the Brotherhood? It is real? It is not simply an invention of the
No, it’s real. You will never learn much more about the Brotherhood
other than it exists and that you belong to it but I will come back to that presently.
O’Brien looks at his watch.
It is unwise even for members of the Inner Party to turn off the
telescreen for more than half an hour. You will understand that I must start by asking you
certain questions. In general terms, what are you prepared to do?
Anything that we are capable of.
O’Brien turns his chair a little to face Winston, almost ignoring Julia.
You are prepared to give your lives?
You are prepared to commit murder?
To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the deaths of hundreds
of innocent people?
To betray your country to foreign powers?
If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw
sulphuric acid in a child’s face – are you prepared to do that?
You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order you to do
another again?
You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one
Winston looks a Julia and seems to be lost for words.
You did well to tell me. It is necessary for us to know everything.
Martin tops up the drinks and exists.
You understand that you will be fighting in the dark. You will always be
in the dark. You will receive orders and you will obey them, without knowing why. Later I
shall send a book from which you will learn the true nature of the society which we live in,
and the strategy by which we shall destroy it. When you have read it, you will be full
members of the Brotherhood.
No doubt you have formed your own world of conspirators, meeting secretly in cellars,
scribbling messages on walls. Nothing of the kind exists.
Nothing holds The Brotherhood together except an idea, which is indestructible. You will
have to get used to living without results and without hope. You will work for a while, you
will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die. There is no chance of any
perceptible change happening within our own lifetime. We are the dead.
He raises his glass.
What shall it be to this time? To the confusion of the Thought Police?
To the death of Big Brother? To humanity? To the future?
To the past.
Yes. The past is more important.
They finish their drinks and Julia and Winston stand to leave.
I shall send you a copy of Goldstein’s book as soon as possible. We
shall meet again -- if we meet again –
In the place where there is no darkness?
O’Brien nods.
In the place where there is no darkness.
Script excerpt: Charrington’s Shop
The room above Mr Charrington’s shop. Winston sits on the edge of the bed. Nervous.
Julia enters carrying a brown canvas tool-bag. Winston steps forward to embrace her.
Wait a second. Just let me show you what I brought. Look.
She opens the bag pulls out a few old tools that were on top and then hands a brown
paper package to Winston. He feels the bag.
…It isn’t sugar?
Real sugar. Not saccharine. And here is a loaf of bread, proper
white bread, not the shit we get and - a little pot of jam. And here’s a jar of milk – but look...
this is the best one. This is the one that I am really proud. I had to wrap a bit of sacking
round it because –
Winston sniffs the air.
Winston :
Coffee. It’s real coffee!
It’s Inner Party stuff. There’s nothing those pigs don’t have, nothing
and – I got a little packet of tea as well.
There’s been a lot of tea about lately. They must have captured India,
or something. I do have one more thing but you need to turn around. Go Over there and
DON’T turn around till I tell you.
Winston looks out of the window through the muslin curtains. The prole woman’s song
strikes up again
Woman’s voice:
They say that time ‘eals all things,
They say you can always forget;
But the smiles and the tears across the years
They twist my ‘eart strings yet!
She’d be perfectly happy to stay there for a thousand years, pegging
out nappies and singing rubbish.
Social Media: (@shakeandstir / use #shakeandstir1984)
Room 101:
Room 101 (UK TV show):
‘Why I Write’ George Orwell Essay:
Spark Notes:
George Orwell:
Nations in1984:
Newspeak words:
Big Brother TV Show:
Teacher Tube:
1984 Comic (Chapter 1&2):
1984 Production Gallery (from the 2012 QPAC Season):
1984 Teaser Trailer:
Assessment questions
Question 1:
‘1984 is a story of opposites: love vs hate; freedom vs slavery; good vs evil;
ignorance vs strength. But opposites are important as we cannot understand one
without the other. We only understand good because we have seen evil. Both are
necessary in a functioning world.’
Discuss this statement in relation to shake & stir’s 1984. Do you agree/disagree
with it? In your response you should discuss both the live theatre experience and
the novel when supporting your arguments.
Question 2:
‘If there is hope, it lies in the proles.’
Discuss this statement in relation to shake & stir’s 1984 and Orwell’s novel. You
should also aim to reference any similarities from the world as we know it today. In
your response consider the following:
What does Winston mean by this statement?
What warning is Orwell trying to give us?
Does this statement foreshadow anything in the text?
Question 3:
‘Appropriate A/V design enhances the overall effect of a production and enables the
director to tell parts of story without the need for spoken word.’
What elements of design, lighting, Audio/Visual were used in shake & stir’s 1984?
Examine the effect they had on the audience and critique their overall suitability. In
your response you should consider the symbolism of these design features and
how well they helped shape the drama on stage.
Question 4:
You are a writer for The Courier-Mail and you’ve been asked to write a critical
review of shake & stir’s 1984. You should focus on 2 - 3 key scenes/moments and
the validity of these. Remember to include a brief synopsis; critique of the acting,
representation of characters, direction and style; strengths and weaknesses of the
production and an overall opinion. It should be presented as a newspaper review
with relevant images headings and other conventions.
A modelled example can be found on page 39-40.
Dramatic Elements
Performers will take on
one or more roles
throughout a dramatic
piece. This requires
them to embody
someone or something
beyond themselves to
make a believable and
credible character for
the audience. It is also
important to think about
their role in the
dramatic action. Is it
pivotal? Supportive?
The words that are
spoken. It’s the
foundation of a textbased play. Subtext
should also be
analysed as well as
stage directions when
reading and interpreting
a play.
// 1984
W as the pie ce
character or plot
drive n? How we re the
role s us e d to he lp
cre ate the story? Did
the actors play m ore
than one role ? How did
the y do this ? W hat
change s we re e vide nt
in the ir perform ance ?
W as the role
convincing? How we re
the role s e stablis he d
and m aintaine d? W hat
role did that characte r
have in the dram a?
All the actors except Bryan Probets
(Winston) play more than one role. Identify
with students that they were changed by
costuming, props, voice and movement.
Think about how different roles served
different purposes. EG Parsons was used to
lighten to mood and show an innocence in a
party member. Charrington’s role was of
the ultimate betrayal - and this was built
throughout the play. He preyed on
Winston’s weakness (privacy) and used this
against him in the betrayal (he was a
member of the Thought Police the whole
How we re words us e d
to cre ate powe r? W hat
was the s ubtext be hind
s om e of the m em orable
line s ? How did the
language he lp to s hape
the dram a? W hat was
inte re s ting about the
language ? W as it hard
to unders tand?
Language is pivotal in 1984 - they are
creating a new language - Newspeak. Also
words have a lot of power behind them most words used actually mean the
opposite EG ‘Ministry of Love’ is actually
torture, friends are enemies, the concept of
privacy does not exist.
Think about the power of the words used the impact of simply saying ‘Room 101’ and
the reaction it draws. It’s also important to
look at the fact that audience members
bring their own meaning to words - each
comes with a different level of prior
knowledge of the text - and with this comes
personal subjectivity.
W as the m ovem e nt
s ym bolic in anyway?
The way an actor uses
How was m ove m e nt
their body to show
contraste d by stillne s s ?
W hat e ffe ct did this
Blocking on stage.
have ? How did the
Movement can be literal
blocking change the
or abstract, depending
way you interprete d the
on the piece.
play? W as the
m ove m e nt dire ct or
fluid? W hy was it done
this way?
Movement is used a variety of ways in 1984
- including repetition, rhythm, fast and slow
paced. During the opening 2 Minute Hate
sequence the characters’ movements are
strong and directed, whereas in scenes
between Julia and Winston the movement is
more fluid and messy. In scenes where
Winston is at work movement is used to
show the dull and repetitive nature of his
work. In the Ministry of Love choreographed
stage fighting is used to show torture and
violence. Throughout the play there are
moments when Winston is still whilst others
move around him.
How was the s pace
us e d? Did it fe e l ope n
The personal and
or clos e d? W as it cold
general space used on
or warm ? How did the
stage. This can refer to
actors interact with the
‘the space between’ or
s pace ? W hat did the
how the actors used the
s pace betwe e n the
stage space to create a
actors te ll you about the
specific reaction.
characters ?
The contrast between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’
space in 1984 is used to great effect. There
is always reference to Winston’s physical
space and his mental space - sometimes
this is shown on the telescreens behind him.
It’s clear that he is in two different ‘spaces’
at the same time.
Space is also used in the set design and
use of lighting. EG Shafts of light are used
to emphasize the small space of the
cubicles in the Ministry of Truth.
W ho had the powe r in
e ach s ce ne ? How could
you te ll? How was the
s tatus s hown? W hat
te chnique s were us e d
to cre ate s tatus on the
s tage ? Doe s anyone
challe nge the status ?
W he re doe s the power
s hift in the play? W hy
doe s it s hift? Can you
rank the characte rs in
orde r of s tatus ? W hat
ke y m om e nts s hift this ?
Power is shown on stage through levels,
blocking, movement, language and the
telescreens. In particular status is evident
when Winston is being tortured in Room
101. O’Brien is physically strong and stands
over a weak and fragile Winston.
The status shifts between Julia and
Winston, she begins with the power but
Winston ultimately takes it when he betrays
her and she is left empty and converted but so does Winston.
Charrington is seen as a lower status
character - a common shop owner who lives
amongst the Proles - but the ultimate
betrayal comes when he reveals himself as
a member of the Thought Police.
Status and power are manipulated a lot in
the play - we see children having power of
their parents - with Parsons being turned in
by his own daughter.
The power behind a
role. Who has control in
a scene and how the
power shifts between
characters. This can be
determined through
language, movement,
gesture, voice,
costuming, staging,
lighting and A/V
How attention is
directed on stage to
what is most worthy of
attention. This also
relates to an actor’s
The atmosphere
created. It helps to
focus the action and
‘move’ the audience
into different feelings
and emotions
throughout the piece.
The deeper or implied
meaning of props,
costumes, lighting, text,
sound or movement.
W hat do we look at?
How we re you m ade to
look at this ? How did
the characte rs cre ate
focus ? How did the s et,
lighting or A/V he lp
focus the action? W hat
or who ke pt your focus
on the s tage ?
The telescreens are used to create and
maintain focus throughout the play. The use
of A/V is of utmost importance in the play - it
is used heavily to shift the focus both
between scenes and between characters.
The idea of ‘facecrime’ and ‘thoughtcrime’
are used to focus the drama - we see
Winston on stage with a blank look on his
face, but the telescreen behind him gives
away his act of thoughtcrime - he cannot
keep it in.
W hat did you fe e l
throughout the dram a?
Do you think this was
the inte nde d re action?
How we re e le m e nts
s uch as lighting, s et
de s ign and A/V us e d to
he lp cre ate and
m aintain the m ood?
This is a dark play. The mood is almost
constantly down, but it still goes through
waves. See if students can plot the mood on
a graph, showing key moments of
heightened mood.
The mood is lightened through Winston and
Julia’s relationship. They manage to find
some pleasure in their lives, and this
changes the atmosphere on stage particularly when in the ‘golden country’.
Music is used to shape the mood onstage ‘Oranges and Lemons’ and the song sung
by the female prole are used to establish
atmosphere and foreshadow Winston’s
W hat could the de e per
m e aning have be e n for
things you s aw on
s tage ? W as lighting,
s ound or A/V us e d in a
s ym bolic way? W as this
e ffe ctive ? W e re props
or costum e s us ed in a
s ym bolic way?
1984 is full of symbols. Discuss the
symbolism of the following: ‘Oranges and
Lemons’ (symbol of the past, foreshadow of
the future); Julia’s red anti-sex league sash;
Winston’s diary; the telescreens; the song
the Prole sings & the lady herself;
Charrington’s shop;the piece of coral; the
rats, Room 101; Winston’s skeleton like face
on the telescreens; the bells (of St
Clement’s) are used as a symbol of
warning. Also characters are symbolic:
Winston represents the eve rym an fighting
against authority; Parsons is symbolic of
innocence/ignorance; Charrington - the wolf
in sheep’s clothing.
How did the te ns ion
e ngage you? W hat
The driving force of the
we re you inve s te d in?
dramatic action. It must
How was it built
be built, maintained or
be twe e n characters ?
broken at various points
W hy was the te ns ion
in the dramatic action.
broke n? How did it
happe n?
The use of polarised or
opposing elements is
important to highlight
differences in the
dramatic action.
W hat binary oppos itions
we re us e d in the
dram a? (EG light VS
dark) How we re the s e
highlighte d? How did
the y he lp to cre ate
dram atic
action/m e aning? W ere
the y effective ?
How we re costum e s
us e d to s how role ?
The clothes and props
W ere the y s ym bolic?
a character has are
W ere the y e ffe ctive ?
important when creating
W hat change s were
and establishing role for
m ade by characters
both the actor and the
playing m ore than one
role ?
Tension exists in every scene of 1984. In
particular: the tension of relationships
between Winston and each character can
be explored in great detail. Tension of
mystery is a constant as we never know
when Big Brother is watching; when the
Thought Police will strike; who the enemy is
and when betrayal will come. Tension of
surprise comes with Winston and Julia are
captured. Tension of the task surrounds all
that this play stands for: standing up against
Big Brother - but it breaks when Winston
The telescreens and voice overs are used to
highlight the tension and at times, to break
the tension.
Language is constantly contrasted in the
script. Words can mean their exact
opposite: Ministry of Plenty (rations),
Ministry of Truth (rewriting the past), ‘W e
s hall m e e t in the place whe re the re is no
darkne s s ’ - Winston interprets this ‘light’ to
be good - when it’s the lights used in the
torture chambers.
Telescreens contrast the real and the unreal
- particularly Winston’s thoughts, the ‘entity’
of Big Brother and Goldstein.
The ideas of facecrime and thoughtcrime
are contrasts. We give away our thoughts
on our face, or are we always wearing a
Binary opposites drive the narrative: good
VS evil; hope VS hopelessness; dark VS
light; truth VS untruth; we must understand
and experience one in order to fully
understand its opposite.
The dark blue boiler suits are worn by all
actors and help to show the conformist
nature of Big Brother’s power. The also
highlight the lack of personality and the
extreme control of this totalitarian society.
When characters change role they
substitute an element of their costume Parsons has glasses, Charrington is in
‘normal’ attire, O’Brien wears an all in one
black boiler-style ‘suit’, Julia has a red anti
sex league sash and wears a dress at one
point - signifying her change into a more
feminine and ‘individual’ role.
W ere the lights us e d to
s how tim e pas s ing?
Lighting can be used for
W as a s pot light us e d to
several purposes - to
highlight ke y
establish mood,
characters/s ce ne s/e le m
emphasize space, show
e nts ? How effe ctive
a change in day/night,
we re the us e of
or to symbolise a
blackouts ? W as colour
variety of things.
us e d in the lighting? If
s o, why?
Unconventional lighting was used in 1984
as the telescreens also act as a lighting
fixture. The ever moving spotlight starts the
show and stops on audience members,
highlighting our voyeuristic role. Lighting
was also used to show space. Shafts of light
highlight the characters at work at The
Ministry of Truth. The lighting changes when
Winston and Julia are in Charrington’s shop
and out in the ‘golden country’ - this is also
symbolic of the double life that they are
trying to lead. Lighting was also used in the
A/V on the telescreens - EG Winston is lit to
resemble a skeleton.
What did you see or
hear that didn’t come
from an actor onstage?
What impact did the
A/V have on the telling
of the story? Did it
support your
understanding of what
was going on? Was it
effective in creating
mood? Did it help to
show emotion/thought?
How was diegetic and
non-diegetic sound
Orwell’s novel is full of technology - and so
is the stage version. The A/V design is
beautifully woven into the production and
the use of the plasma telescreens and
voiceovers are of extreme importance in
1984. Many elements of the story are told
through inner monologues, voice overs,
flashbacks and images that are played on
the telescreens. Winston’s inner thoughts
are of particular importance - they are an
example of thoughtcrime, and, as the
audience we have a sense of dramatic irony
as we can predict his downfall much more
easily than him. Live cameras are also used
when Winston is being tortured - this adds
to the voyeuristic nature of the play. The use
of non-diegetic sound also highlights the
impersonal and detached feeling
surrounding the control of Big Brother. The
booming voice overs and lack of face to
face interaction create this sense of
What did the set look
like? How did you react
when you first saw it?
Did it move during the
play? How effective
was it in establishing
the setting? Was it
1984 has a minimal but effective set. The
huge plasma telescreens form the back wall
of the set and stage left has a moveable
wall to create Charrington’s shop. Tables
protrude from the walls and slide back in
when not in use. Props are kept to a
minimum and are used simplistically and
The colour of the set is also important. Most
of the set is grey, dull and industrial,
whereas Charrington’s shop is brighter and
full of hope (albeit false).
Any external sound or
image that is used on
stage to help tell the
story, create mood,
establish the setting,
show inner thoughts
and/or subtext.
The design on stage. It
may be minimal or
detail, moveable or
Context is the lens in
which we view the
drama. It is the
background information
that audiences bring
with them to a
performance, which
ultimately influences
their interpretation of
the play. Context can
also be created on
stage through the way
the narrative is shown.
What do you already
know about the text
before seeing it? When
was it written? Why was
it written? Can it be set
anywhere/anytime or is
the setting and time
pivotal to the meaning?
What do you need to
know in order to make
sense of the narrative?
When going to see 1984 every audience
member brings their own context to the
show. It is a novel that has sparked much
political debate and conversations. It has
been banned in some countries in the past
and Orwell’s own political beliefs are
steeped in the text. The great thing about
the work is that it could have been written
anytime in the last 50 years - the text was
written in 1948 - but projected and predicted
a future that is not too dissimilar from what
we see today. CCTV follows us, computers
are monitored, internet usage is watched,
the government likes to be ever present in
the running of our day to day lives...