Barcelona Skyline

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

George Orwell’s 1984, in Barcelona, directed by Tim Robbins

Yes, Tim Robbins, Academy Award winning actor and long-time partner of Susan Sarandon, is coming to Barcelona to direct an adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, from September 30 to October 4, at Poliorama theater. And it’s all in English with subtitles in Spanish and Catalan, whatever that means at the theatre.

Robbins is the artistic director of The Actor’s Gang, a Los Angeles based ensemble group which brings thought-provoking, daring interpretations of the classics to the stage. And what could fit the bill more than 1984, Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian state which watches its citizens’ every move while engaging in never-ending wars and pumping out doublespeak propaganda. What could we do without words like “Orwellian”, “doublespeak”, and of course “Big Brother.” And yes, Spain, too has its TV reality-show pyschodrama Big Brother, here called Gran Hermano.

There is actually a George Orwell Square (La plaça George Orwell) right in the center of Barcelona, just across the Ramblas from the hotel. Why? Becausee in Barcelona the great British writer is famous not so much for 1984, but for Homage to Catalonia, his first-person account of a turbulent chapter in the Spanish Civil War.

In 1937 Orwell found himself in Barcelona as a volunteer soldier. He came to fight with the Republic against the Fascists, but was soon embroiled in Barcelona’s civil war within the Civil War which featured the anarchists, the Stalinist Communist Party, and the anti-Stalinist POUM (Orwell’s party). This book is still a great read, his impressions a vivid introduction to a chaotic chapter in Barcelona’s history

And now for a little irony: Placa George Orwell, full of hidden bars and music clubs, is a hot place for night life. It also has been chosen by the jokers at the City Hall to install the first 24-hour-per-day continuous video monitoring camera for police surveillance. Yes, Big Brother is alive and well. And not just on television, but right in George Orwell Square.

You can get tickets online for "1984" at Servicaixa.

No comments: