Adapted by and starring Larry Cedar
Directed by Pamela Cedar
This play took me back, way back…back to dusty long hours spent deep in my English class at my all-girls school in England, reading 1984…virtually at gunpoint.
As I grew older I, of course, recognized the wisdom and the reason behind every forced page, as is usual when it comes to hindsight, so annoyingly 20/20.
These days, with age rather than wisdom, I can truly appreciate Orwell. What a writer, what a visionary and what an interesting premise for a play, a one-man play.
Larry Cedar clearly has a love for the writer George Orwell and has very cleverly chosen passages from three of his books to construct the narrative. Kind of a ‘best of’ Orwell recital.
With simple staging and wardrobe that seamlessly flow from one character to another, Mr. Cedar takes us on a tour of some of Orwell’s most compelling characters. “1984’s” Winston Smith, of course, but also a wonderful rendition of the pig’s rousing call to revolution from “Animal Farm” and, on a lighter note, a vivid and beautifully acted memoir of the life of the beleaguered kitchen worker in “Down and Out in Paris and London.”
Mr. Cedar has, with his obvious love for Orwell and his talent, created a startlingly simple yet cunningly layered ‘ode’ to Orwell, reminding us of the writer’s indisputable and glittering genius. With his romantic and poetic phrasing and language, whether writing about towers of dirty plates, farmyard squabbles or thought control, Orwell had a way of humanizing even the most banal and base and despicable. Mr. Cedar emotes the heartache of defeat and the sublime qualities of the ordinary with skill and humor and the unmistakable art of the true actor.
It seems a simple thing…to perform excerpts from books, but it is not.
Holding the attention of an audience purely with the sound of your voice, reciting words written 70 years ago by a man born half way around the world into the perils of another time, and making it seem as if these words were written about our world, in our time, takes a special kind of skill and passion. And Mr. Cedar has it in bucket loads.
I highly recommend “Orwellian” at The Sherry Theatre. It plays only for the next three Thursdays at 8pm, October 6th, 13, 20 & 27, so don’t dawdle if you want to step back in time a little.
Orwellian is performed with the permission of the Estate of the Late George Orwell and runs approximately one hour with no intermission.
The Sherry Theater
11052 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601