1984 (The Play) with Michael Gene Sullivan and Friends

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 7:30pm



Tonight: Act One from the stage adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 with playwright and actor

Michael Gene Sullivan, and actors Alex Moggridge, Brian Herndon, David Moore,

Tristan Cunningham, Christian Cagigal, and Patrick Alparone.



Based on the iconic novel by George Orwell, 1984 brings us the story of Winston Smith, a cog in the giant machine state of Oceania. Physically and mentally under the omnipresent eye of Big Brother, Winston has been caught struggling for scraps of love and freedom in a world awash with distrust and violence. With the brutal "help" of four Party Members, Winston is forced to confess his Thoughtcrimes before an unseen inquisitor, and the audience -- which acts as a silent witness to his torture. Authorized by the Orwell Estate, this critically-acclaimed  adaptation had its world premiere at the Actors' Gang Theatre. Directed by Tim Robbins, it went to five extended runs in Los Angeles, and toured to Europe, Asia, South and Central America, Australia, and well as 40 of the United States.  

The LA Weekly wrote, "We forget that what made 1984 frightening at the time of its publication was not Orwell's far-fetched prediction of a totalitarian elite forever frozen into power. It terrified because it presumed to describe 1948 - the year of the book's writing - as though it were ancient, inalterable history. Even still, so much of Orwell's vision of the political future, from the strangulation of language to the end of privacy, has come to pass, though mostly with our hearty consent. By far the most disturbing parallel has been our game acceptance of never-ending war and expedient torture - we seem to be thoroughly at peace with these concepts as long as we have enough creature comforts. Today, opinion polls show that Americans demand that there be more public surveillance cameras and are quite agreeable to having their reading and entertainment habits monitored by police agencies. (We don't mind having our phones tapped, so long as we have a choice of downloadable ring tones.) It may be argued that Orwell erred by not predicting our lusty embrace of a life of reduced freedoms, but perhaps not even he was pessimistic enough to believe in such a sad possibility."


Michael Gene Sullivan is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright. As an actor and director his work includes productions with the American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Magic, Marin, Eureka, and Lorraine Hansberry Theaters, Theatreworks, and the San Francisco and African American Shakespeare Companies.

As a playwright, Mr. Sullivan's political dramas, musicals, and satires include 1600 Transylvania Avenue, Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan (with Josh Kornbluth), Godfellas, Red State, Too Big to Fail, Possibilidad or The Death of the Worker, the all-woman farce Recipe, and his one person show, Did Anyone Ever Tell You -- You Look Like Huey P. Newton? Mr. Sullivan's plays have been performed at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the International Festival of Verbal Art (Berlin), The Hong Kong Arts Festival, and in Greece, Spain, Columbia, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and in theaters throughout the United States.

In 1989 Mr. Sullivan became a member of the Tony and OBIE award-winning (and despite its misleading name never, ever silent) San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he has acted in, directed, or written over 30 productions. In 2000 he became the Troupe's Resident Playwright, and has since written some of SFMT's most successful political comedies.