On 27 and 28 February, the small theatre in Bibliotheca Alexandria hosted the theatrical play of “1984,” based on George Orwell’s classic novel of the same name. More than 600 people attended both days’ shows, which were open to the public at a low price.
“I started reproducing the novels of the great writer George Orwell in 2011,” said Ahmed Samir, the director of the play.
“I began with transforming his novel ‘Animal Farm’ into a play, which managed to achieve a lot of success. Then, I applied for Alexandria Library’s premier scholarship to receive funds for reproducing the rest of his literary works,” he added.
Since his graduation from the Faculty of Arts, Theatre Department, in Alexandria University, he presented a number of successful theatrical plays, including “Erada” (Will), “Qanabel Moseela Lel Horeya” (Freedom Tear Gas), “Beit Al Heitan” (Whales’ House), “The Marathon”, and many others.
However, transforming Orwell’s “1984” novel that is filled with a lot of political and social implications into a theatrical text was no easy feat.
“I spent three months writing the script, as I depended on many different sources, including the original novel, as well as movies and plays adapted from the novel. I tried to summarise the story to fit a one-hour show and to find some visual and sound effects for the parts that I can’t reproduce onstage, all without losing the essence and scope of the novel. I had to use slang to make it easier for people to get the play’s different messages,”’ he explained.
Because he didn’t have a theatrical troupe to work with, Samir decided to invite actors to Alexandria University for an audition, and six actors were selected. To avoid subjectivity, Samir refused to interfere with the flow of the original events to provide some indicators about the current political and social circumstances in Egypt. “I wanted to produce pure art with no colours or affiliations,” he added.
In his opinion, the audience is always attracted to good-quality art. “Producers always have this concept that people prefer light art without any deep connotations; however, I do believe that people search for any form of art, regardless of its depth, as long as it is able to balance between good content and entertainment,” he concluded.