The KC theatre department’s rendition of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” adapted by Ian Wooldridge begins at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 nightly through Feb. 28, with a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. March 2.
This is the stage adaptation of George Orwell’s novel, which was written as an allegorical fable: “a fairy story” in his words, to illustrate the history of the Soviet Union.
“For me, Orwell’s fable is more than a political allegory,” Micah Goodding, theatre director, said. “The cautionary themes of oppression and dehumanization, of one group asserting themselves over the interest of another are just as pertinent today as they were in Orwell’s lifetime.”
The students have spent a large portion of the rehearsal process improvising and developing the more imaginative aspects of the production, such as how to portray the difference between the animals and the humans or how to create a winter storm on the stage.
“This has made the process very exciting for me as both an educator and a director because I’m able to see my students experience the very thing that distinguishes the theatre from many other art forms: spontaneous collaboration,” Goodding said.
Goodding also mentioned that a lot of the moments that will see on stage do not belong to him or any single member of the cast but to the company as a whole.
The theatre department has been exploring conventions, which rely heavily upon the imagination of the audience.
“Patrons expecting to see a bunch of actors “oinking” around on all fours, dressed in furry animal costumes will be surprised at how far we have pushed the question of what makes an animal an animal and a human a human,” Goodding said.
The staging the audience will see is more concerned with exploring the themes of the play: concepts of oppression and inequality, rather than trying to convince the audience that the actors are horses and pigs.
“We are inviting the audience to partner with us in creating a world of rust and mud and sweat, where characters that talk and act very human are treated as something less than human,” Goodding said. “My hope is that our audiences will leave the theatre with a wary eye for ‘the pigs’ in their own daily lives.”