THOUGHTS FROM THE PLAYWRIGHT OF 1984
When George Orwell wrote his great novel 1984 it was a comment on the development of both totalitarian Communism in the East and totalitarian Capitalism (Fascism) in the West. Orwell was a Socialist who fought against both, and he saw how each used the language of social progressive movements, twisted by charismatic leaders and “populist” parties, to make endless promises of peace and prosperity… promises only to be fulfilled after the defeat of an “enemy.” This enemy was always simultaneously disdainfully weak, on the edge of collapsing under their own ineptitude, yet always, somehow, an immediate threat. Think North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Cuba… And Orwell saw how any economic benefits of industrialization could be turned to simple militarism and consumerism – leaving the workers forever in debt, and forever afraid.
A citizenry kept in a constant state of fear will follow anyone who validates that fear while promising to protect them. And those citizens will sit back as their leaders bomb, assassinate, kill civilians, support dictators, torture men and women, as long as they themselves are told the War is in the name of Peace, that rage and Hate is the best way to show Love of your country, and that the so-called experts are suspect, because too much knowledge leads to weakness – that Ignorance is Strength.
I wrote this play because 1984 is not a history story. It’s not science fiction. If we hate who we are told to hate, toss our ethics and humanity out of fear, and trust an all-encompassing Corporate Government because we think we have no choice – then 1984 is here, and it is now. And it is us.
– Michael Gene Sullivan, Playwright, 1984