Back Alley Productions Contributed Photo / Zachary Green plays Winston Smith, who begins to question the authoritarian Big Brother government.

Back Alley Productions will open George Orwell's dystopian drama "1984" for six performances beginning Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 22.

In Orwell's nightmarish world of "1984," Winston Smith struggles with life in an alternative reality, where the authoritarian Big Brother government controls the populace with an ever-watchful eye. Free thought is banished and compliance is enforced through mass surveillance.

"Though '1984' is set 36 years ago in an alternate timeline of our own world, many of the themes presented share a shocking resemblance to our modern world," says director Gavin Russell.

"When Orwell conceived of mass surveillance, he had no idea how much further we would go in just a few short decades. Our modern context has radically changed the perspective and message of '1984' ever since."

Defying the national ban on individual thinking, Winston dares to express his own personal thoughts in a diary, and then pursues love with another human named Julia.

If you go

* What: “1984”

* Where: Mars Theatre, 117 N. Chattanooga St., LaFayette, Georgia

* When: 7:30 p.m. March 13-14 and 20-21; 2:30 p.m. March 15 and 22

* Admission: $12, $13 and $17.50

* For more information:


Both actions are deeply criminal and don't go unnoticed. Soon Winston must face a choice: either conform to the collective or face dire consequences.

"Winston's struggle is one I think we can all relate to in the sense that there's less and less room to be a free individual in the digital age," Russell adds.

"Everywhere we go can be tracked, all the pictures we take are shared freely in a mass database we all contribute to, and we have listening devices and cameras around us at all times."

Additionally, Russell notes, companies and politicians of all backgrounds all around the world keep massive databases on everyone for advertising and political purposes.

"That alone makes the ideas of '1984' important," he said. "We're often willing participants, almost unconscious about the kinds of technology we freely accept into our lives without any debate or skepticism.

"As time passes, the story of '1984' becomes more relevant," he said. "It's easy for leaders — even regular people — to buy into a philosophy that 'if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear.'

"But '1984' warns us that it's a little more complicated than that, and that buying into mass surveillance is a slippery slope to more authoritarian governments. The scary thought is that Big Brother governments are not sudden. Big Brother doesn't simply show up and kill anyone that opposes it. Rather, they start small: re-educating and dehumanizing to cultivate compliance."

Though there's no heavy adult content, "1984" does contain some themes that are not intended for younger audience members, including unsettling concepts about authoritarianism and some scenes that might be considered frightening or disturbing.

For more information:

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Back Alley Productions Contributed Photo / Art Sanner is the controlling voice of Big Brother.

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