Tim Robbins 1984 Play

Tim Robbins’ reimagining of Orwell’s ‘1984’ resonates in 2008 by James D. Watts Jr. –

“It’s one of those books you think you know well — until you sit down and read it,” said Tim Robbins, the Academy Award-winning actor and director who founded The Actors’ Gang. “And then you realize just how prescient George Orwell was, and how incredibly relevant this book is today.”

Robbins speaks from a very personal experience. He had approached the San Francisco Mime Troupe a couple of years ago with the idea of that group and the Actors’ Gang collaborating on a show.

Both companies

are known for productions that deal with volatile contemporary issues — war, politics, the death penalty, social mores, religion.

“One of the things that was mentioned was an adaptation that one of their members, Michael Gene Sullivan, had written of ‘1984,’ ” Robbins said. “They didn’t think it was right for their company, and offered it to us.

“Of course I had read the book a long time ago, but as I read Michael’s script, I kept thinking, ‘He’s made a lot of this stuff up,’ ” he said. “So I read the book again and was shocked to learn I had forgotten so much.”

The Actors’ Gang debuted its production of “1984,” which Robbins directed, in 2006. Following an acclaimed two-month run, the company has taken the play on three national tours, the latest of which brings it to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center for three performances, Tuesday through Thursday.

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