Mark Alford, Xander Layden and Morgan Picton in TAO's 1984

Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Today

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

Just two days after the inauguration of Donald Trump, Pug Bujeaud knew it was time for 1984. She’s directing Theater Artists Olympia’s production of George Orwell’s dystopian classic, opening March 24. “1984 is a story of what happens when people in power have too much power,” she said in a phone interview last week. She’s far from the only one to notice the parallels between Kellyanne Conway’s defense of “alternative facts” and Orwell’s world of “doublethink” and “newspeak.”

The book is currently number 2 on Amazon’s 2017 bestseller list, and thousands of new copies have been printed. “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears,” Orwell wrote in 1948. “It was their final, most essential command.”

Bujeaud was one of the first to ask for rights to Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation of the play, in which the Party interrogates Ministry of Truth employee Winston Smith (Gabriel McClelland) for thoughtcrimes, forcing him to watch re-enactments of key scenes from his life. Playing the Party members are Mark Alford (who plays Winston in re-enactments), Maggie Ferguson-Wagstaffe (Winston’s girlfriend, Julia, who works in the ministry’s Fiction Department), Xander Layden, Morgan Picton and John Serembe.

Working on the show has been a challenge, Bujeaud said, and the script’s darkness was enough to dissuade some interested actors. “The worst thing about doing this show is there’s no escape,” she said. “It’s hard, but gallows humor is a thing.”

What: 1984

Where: The Midnight Sun Performance Space,
113 Columbia St. NW, Olympia

When: 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday and April 14-15
2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8

How much: $12-$15 (March 30 is pay-what-you-can)

Get tickets: Email | TAO




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