Perth’s ‘2084: A Musical’ explores life after Orwell’s ‘1984’

I am passionate about local theatre. I am particularly passionate about musical theatre. I am even more passionate about original productions of locally written and produced theatre… and I am incredibly passionate about a show that is having its debut season this weekend in Perth. That may be because 12 months ago I got to be part of a week-long workshop of the first 20 minutes of an incredible musical that was written here in Perth. I knew it was special then so I am excited to finally tell you the good news. Perth writer Sarah Courtis and choreographer Ellin Sears are introducing the world to their vision, 2084: A Musical in the Nexus Theatre at Murdoch University this weekend.

2084: A Musical is set one hundred years on from George Orwell’s novel that coined the phrase ‘Big Brother is watching you’. It tells the tale of a world set to implode under the weight of its own secrets. A society carefully constructed and controlled by the Corporation begins to unravel as unlikely alliances form and the truth is revealed. The show centres on themes that will resonate with LGBT audiences.

I spoke with Sarah Courtis about how she came to include LGBT themes in her work. ‘It was an accident.’ She said. ‘I wrote these characters and as I continued to write it dawned on me that although I hadn’t originally planned it… they were in love. It just seemed right; especially when I realized their love was a secret, not just from the people around them but also from themselves. A society that controls its citizens will seek not only to control their actions but also their thoughts.’

I also spoke with Lancelot Ronzan and Will Moriarty about the roles they play on stage. Lancelot said ‘The complexities of the characters are mirrored in the complexity of the musical themes and I used that as the place to begin my exploration of the character.’ Both are straight men that sense the weight of responsibility playing gay characters yet took a very practical approach. ‘I just asked myself “What would it be like if I began to realize I was in love?” and took things from there.’ Will responded. ‘At the end of the day, love is love’. While both have friends who are gay neither are interested in depicting a stereotype but rather finding the heart of their character and presenting that.

Given the recent re-election of a government that seems determined to foist a plebiscite on our nation with all the ugliness that will entail, this show seems timely indeed. 2084: A Musical with its depiction of a love set against a dystopian future might be just the motivation we need to step up the fight against the ‘thought control’ tactics of conservative forces such as the ACL.

2084: A musical, co-directed by Courtis and Sears, features a company of local and overseas performers as well as a live band conducted by composer Nick Choo who will perform over three nights in the Nexus Theatre, Murdoch University on August 18, 19, 20. Do yourself a favour and go see a show full of heart, guts, intelligence and above all entertainment.

2084: A musical will be at the Nexus Theatre, Murdoch University from August 18 – 20. Get your tickets NOW at trybooking.com.

Charlie Perth

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