Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Meat and Potato Theatre Lives Up To It’s Name in 1984

By • Oct 24th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Meat and Potato Theatre’s production of 1984 [MP3 4:51 1.4MB].

Laura: We saw the Meat and Potato Theatre’s production of 1984, based on the classic novel by George Orwell, adapted and directed by Tobin Atkinson.

Mike: 1984 is the story of Winston Smith and his attempt to rebel against the totalitarian state in which he lives. It’s a show about two hours long. It was really good. It’s gonna make you think.

Laura: Yes, that really was a good show Sunday evening. I enjoyed it very much. It does make you think, especially with the current administration. It does raise a lot of questions. We talked about the state of America on the ride home.

John Geoffrion as Winston Smith, photo by Tobin Atkinson

Mike: This is a really good show. I hadn’t read 1984 since high school. I remembered a lot of the basic plot. There were several times when I was like,” Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.” It was a really good show. It was enjoyable. It is deep and you’re going to talk about it which is the purpose of good theater.

Laura: The character of Winston Smith was played by John Geoffrion. He did a really good job. He was the main character who was kind of struggling with his feelings about going along with everybody else and speaking out against the crowd and the party and all those various things that led to that. So he did a really good job. He had a lot of emotion and I liked his performance a lot.

Mike: The other actors in the show played multiple roles. Kristen Egermeier-Hampton played Julia as well as other characters. Julia was the person who fell in love with Winston Smith. They had a relationship that was not sanctioned by the state. That was a big no no, as they discovered later when they were arrested. The character of Julia was really well done. She felt very complete and a very well rounded character, not just one dimensional. All that she’s about is having sex or all that she’s about is fighting Big Brother. That was good. It was really good watching her fall in love and agree to do what Winston was suggesting she do and take a stand against Big Brother.

Laura: Tobin Atkinson played the role of Obrien and other characters. He was also the director of 1984. He did a really good job. The pace of the show was really good. He gave a good performance and I just like the way it moved along.

Mike: The other two actors were Elizabeth Darby and Barbara Papendorp. They played several of the other characters including the coworkers of Winston Smith. They were very believable in their characters. Some of them became unpersons at at different times. It just really worked well. One disadvantage, though, of using the same actors for so many different roles is there were a few times when I got confused. “I thought he was the director. No, I thought he was the boss.” And things like that. So that confused me a few times where the costumes really weren’t different enough that I realized it was a different person.

Laura: The set was really good. It was a simple set. Again, this was a character driven show. There weren’t any scene changes except what the actors and actresses brought on and off. They did have swinging doors at various points to represent a home or inner sanctuary kind of thing. So I thought it was really effective and really well done in that small theater.

Mike: 1984 is a very important political work. It would be wonderful if some of these politicians that are running for office right now; it would be great if they would go see some theater. It would be fascinating to see George Allen and Jim Webb sit down at the same performance of 1984. Don’t let the press in. It would be fascinating to have them watch 1984 and then have a debate, which they’re not going to do I realize. But have a discussion about the issues. A lot of the points made in this play are directly taken out of the headlines from today’s newspapers. I don’t think there’s any politicians anywhere who would want to go subject themselves to seeing 1984, because they’re going to have to justify what is going on n the real world. That’s what’s being spotlighted in this play. So if you’re at all interested in politics, you need to go see 1984.

Laura: 1984 is playing through November 5th, Wednesdays through Sundays at The Playbill Cafe in Washington, DC.

Mike: 1984 does have adult situations. It does have adult language. So just be aware of that. The show is very appropriate for high school students and older.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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