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SGI English students head to the theater

Photo by Elyana Schosek English students and staff from Springville-Griffith Institute took a field trip Wednesday, March 20 to D'Youville College to see a production of “1984,” based on the novel by George Orwell. Whether they had read the book before or not, students were excited to see the show.

Photos by Elyana Schosek
English students and staff from Springville-Griffith Institute took a field trip Wednesday, March 20 to D’Youville College to see a production of “1984,” based on the novel by George Orwell. Whether they had read the book before or not, students were excited to see the show.

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By Elyana Schosek

Student Reporter

Field trips are always meant to be educational trips no matter what grade you are in or what class it is for.

Diane Waterman has taken her Honors English 10 class to see one play so far this year, and they recently went on their second trip to see the play “1984.”

“This book shows a government that has one way of being… you cannot question it, you cannot stand up against it, you have no freedom of voice or choice and cameras are watching you everywhere you go,” Waterman noted.

“I’ve only heard good things about it and it gets us out of school so I’m not really seeing any downside,” said Keaton Wnuk, expressing an opinion that surely goes unspoken among many of his classmates.

Some students weren’t even sure what play they were actually going to see, but others were unaware of the plot.

Some of the students knew what the plot was from reading the book last year in their English class but not all teachers read the book with their students, thus placing them at a disadvantage when it came to understanding the storyline.

A few felt that they may be confused having little background besides what their classmates told them. Marin Lehr gave a brief summary of the plot.

“It is a dystopian plot which was set during the year of 1984 featuring a lot of propaganda. The people are ruled by a group called ‘the party,’ who hire secret ‘thought police’ to erase any opposition and individual thinking that can occur in one’s mind,” she said. “The plot revolves around the government controlling what their people know or can view especially on television. Relationships are even forbidden”.

Some of the students in the class shared their thoughts on the book and expectations for the play a few days before the trip.

“It was a good book and it will be exciting to see people play it out in person,” mentioned Ben Sullivan.

“I expect that there will be many props because the book was very descriptive,” said Nathan Cudney.

“I’m expecting to see a play that is very and gloomy, but I’m hoping to see some action as the main character goes against the government later in the play. I hope it is filled with suspense and action,” noted Blaze Schelble.

Waterman has given the students a little background on the production itself and solely based on this, students like Sara Ehlers who have not read the book think it will be an interesting play to watch.

“I think it’s going to be different than any play I’ve seen before,” Melanie Barry noted.

When Schelble was asked whether or not he was excited for the play, he said, “Yes I am! I heard that it is very intense and crazy which sounds like fun to me.”

Annemarie Harrigan added, “I have an idea of how I imagine it in my head but it could be completely different. I guess I’ll just be surprised”.

“After reading the novel ‘Nineteen-Eighty-Four,’ the central ideas of propaganda and censorship were extremely evident,” noted Olivia Giammarco in reference to the character who leads the society and is said to always be watching. “I think it will be interesting to see how the world could be impacted by the possible ‘Big Brother’ influence.

The novel “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” was written in the year 1948, predicting a possible situation for life 36 years in the future, however exaggerated they may be.

A few of the students took some time to think about parallels between predictions the author made and current times. In other words, characteristics of today’s society that were predicted in the novel.

Keaton Wnuk mentioned that what the author was doing was similar to the ideas presented in the “Back to the Future” movies for a comparison.

“The parallel of the time we are in now probably most directly would be related to the Syrian government controlling their people or North Korea,” Lehr said. “Those people are taught to follow their government arid believe in what they are taught from birth.”

In contrast, Nathan Cudney noted that there weren’t any parallels because “the book was very dystopian, it is hard to find any parallels to today.”

Dystopian novels create an imaginary society that is often frightening to imagine because of how far-fetched they are.

However, Sam Gottstine discussed the amount of surveillance that is present in our daily lives especially with social media which enables the monitoring of one’s activity.

Additionally, the novel reiterates numerous times the idea of suspicion among members of the society. This idea is not as far-fetched as some of the others that are presented within the novel, it is definitely more relatable.

The production of “1984” was held at the Kavinoky Theater on the D’Youville College campus. One noteworthy thing about this theater is that during the performance, the theater will be “pitch black.”

Waterman noted that it submerges you into an “abyss of darkness” which “really fits the story we are going to see.”

In this story, she said, “Reading is dead, freedom is dead, individualism is dead in this book, so is human connection.”

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