Preview – 1984

Kris Lavin has a chat with Alex Rodin, producer of 1984.

1984 bloomsbury theatre ucl drama society ucl theatre


Kris Lavin talks to Alex Rodin, producer of 1984.

Hi Alex! Can you tell us why you chose 1984?

We chose 1984 because it's a very relevant play at the moment and we knew there would be a lot of people interested. There seems to be a nice buzz (ha!) around campus, don't you think? We've just been putting on a play in Camden and that went really well, so we thought we wanted to do something bigger and get into a massive theatre. 1984 seemed to be the right play to put on at the right time.

For those who haven't heard of 1984, what's the play about?

Some people see it as a broken love story between a guy called Winston and a girl called Julia. Others see it as a story about the encroachment of a surveillance state taking away our privacy and our freedom. Come and see it and everything will become clear!

What's the director's interpretation and vision for the play?

You'll struggle to figure out which period of time it's set in, because they've tried very hard to keep that aspect very ambiguous. The actors are all wearing facepaint and stuff like that to make things more absurd than your average play. These are issues that obviously bothered old George in the forties, but they're now coming to bear in the present time, and they'll continue to worry us more and more as we get cleverer. It's designed to bring out the de-humanisation rather than the exact effects of what we might do in a certain period – there are no iPads or anything. If you look at it all through an absurd, scary, disorientating lens then it'll make more sense.

How have you adapted the play for the Bloomsbury stage?

The problem with the Bloomsbury theatre is that it's very tall, and it's difficult to drop things into the set from the top. We collared a few Bartlett students into making us a nice set that fills the whole stage, but that's really the only thing that we've had to work around.

So what's been the biggest challenge so far?

Getting all of the different elements together. There's about fifty-odd people working on this production – you've got the set designers, you've got a band of eight musicians plus the conductor, about twenty actors and all of the production crew. Getting all of those people to work together has been a logistical miracle.

Why should your average UCL student come and see the play?

The guys who are doing this are serious; they mean business. They'll be on stage in the West End in a few years and you may as well catch them now. And, of course, there's the cameo from Malcolm Grant. You don't want to miss that!

Venue: The Bloomsbury Theatre

Performances: Thursday 23rd – Saturday 25th February at 7.30pm. Friday matinee at 2.00pm.

Tickets: £10, £7 concessions, £5 UCL. Book tickets from or call the box office on 020 7388 8822.