Next weekend in downtown Hammond, “Big Brother” will be watching.
Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts will welcome the Aquila Theatre Company to the stage for a one-time production of “1984” on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Written in 1944 near the end of World War II, “1984” depicts a society controlled by a totalitarian government bent on repressing all subversive tendencies. In a press release announcing the production, Columbia Theatre Artistic Director Jim Winter said George Orwell’s cautionary novel seems “forever both timely and ahead of its time.”
“It is somewhat oddly fitting that Aquila Theatre brings ‘1984’ to our stage at a time when the public is actively debating the intersection of government and individuality,” Winter said. “As our modern world grapples with the threats and benefits of technological integration, Aquila Theatre’s production provides a space to appreciate the value of individual thought.
In Orwell’s world, “Big Brother” is always watching as technology is wielded as a weapon to inundate citizens with propaganda and to monitor thoughts and actions, Winter explained. Imagined before the existence of computers, Winter said Orwell’s dystopian future “explores the power of technology as a mental manipulator and source of curated information.”
“Today, Orwell’s prescient story resonates around the globe as individuals, systems and governments clash,” he said.
Beginning in 2000, the Aquila Theatre Company is the foremost producer of touring classical theatre in the United States, according to its website, visiting up to 60 cities a year. Along with Orwell’s “1984,” the company’s 2019-20 season also includes Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.”
The Aquila Theatre Company is currently in the midst of a 25-state nationwide tour that includes three total stops in Louisiana (Baton Rouge’s Manship Theatre, Feb. 12-13; Alexandria’s Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center, April 1).
Tickets for the Hammond production range from $36 to $45 and are available at the Columbia Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or by phone at (985) 543-4371. Patrons may also get tickets online at www.columbiatheatre.org.
Special $10 Southeastern student tickets are also offered for this production. Students must present their university ID at the box office.
All Southeastern faculty, retired faculty or university staff with ID may purchase one ticket for “1984” and receive one ticket at half price. Both tickets must be purchased in the same transaction and for the same price at the Columbia box office.
For more information, contact the box office at (985) 543-4371.