Four years ago, as members of the class of 2006 were about to begin their freshmen year at The Lake Braddock Theatre after the most successful run in school history. After Lake Braddock Theatre’s production of “Dracula” won the Best Play Cappie Award in the Cappies’ inaugural season (followed by a second consecutive nomination in 2001 for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”), LBT received one of the highest National honors for a high school theatre program: selection to the American High School Theatre Festival at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Class of 2006 began their LBT careers gearing up for what was to be the greatest theatrical experience any Bruin had ever known. Bake sales, car washes, volunteering at Kings Dominion and several other fund-raising activities ran into February 2003. That month’s invasion of Iraq ended overseas hopes for Lake Braddock Theatre students as Fairfax County Public Schools banned all field trips for the rest of the year. Even with their dreams of going where “no Bruin had gone before,” the intended production, the Vietnam era drama “A Piece of My Heart” garnered LBT’s third Best Play nomination in four years.
In the years since then, the setback of missing out on Edinburgh, hasn’t slowed the Class of 2006. As sophomores, they witnessed Lake Braddock Theatre come within a hair’s breadth of winning the State Theatre Festival as they tied for first in 2004 with the AIDS-drama “As Is.” As juniors they performed in the VHSL Patriot District Champion Runner-up production “Invisible Man” that finished third at the Northern Region. Months later, they were the fuel that drove the National Capital Area High School premiere of “The Laramie Project” which saw LBT’s fourth Best Play Cappie nomination in six years. And most recently, as seniors, they were awarded Lake Braddock’s third VHSL Patriot District Championship for their production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” Though this string of successes has been a streak that most of the previous LBT thirty-three graduating classes could brag, the Class of 2006 has one final bow to take. They hope to further distance themselves from their predecessors with a world premiere of a new adaptation of George Orwell’s classic “1984.”
Originally published in 1948, Orwell’s novel is set thirty-six years in his future. He imagines a world dominated by the power of the state through various forms of cultural, mental and nationalistic conditioning. Often described as dark science fiction, critics and essayists throughout the 20th century have lauded Orwell’s last work as an “apocalyptic satire” of a still possible future, regardless of the fact that we are now some twenty-two years past the prophetic date. As the central figure everyman, Winston Smith, a citizen of the future nation of Oceania, stands defiant in the face of the all-powerful party headed by the enigmatic Big Brother. Though he plays his part in this clinically cold society that has eliminated love, trust and faith in exchange for security and protection from a rival brutal regime, Winston secretly seeks out others to help in his desire to overthrow the current political system. He finds two such kindred souls in the alluring younger Julia and the older, wiser Inner Party member O’Brien. But can either be trusted? Will they join Winston, or turn him in as a thought criminal?
The cast and crew features twenty members of the class of 2006 — Andrew Bare, Eric Berman, Hannah Brandenburg, Jackie Chu, Rhi Cruse, Chris Deter, Chivonne Floyd, Mark Jennings, Kate Knott, Amanda Lodge, Emily Mittelman, Rachael Mossey, Kristen Ries, Holly Riggi, Danielle Schender, C J Shoemaker, Jenna Socha, Casey Stein, Nora Turner, and Jason Wolf. In total, there are fifty-eight actors in the cast of “1984.” When the production finally runs in April, there could be over 100 students working on this show.
A year ago, LBT’s “The Laramie Project” utilized technology that had to be borrowed or rented to pull off the media driven production. Now, some two months after the completion of Lake Braddock’s Theatre renovation, many of the items used to pull off last year’s technological feats are in place in the “new” Little Theatre. Audiences will cower from the imposing image of Oceania’s political chief, Big Brother, when they are surrounded by an intimidating vocal cast of rabid followers chanting for their leader.
The novel, a staple of high school English curriculums for decades, will be brought to life on Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 7:30 pm and continue to run Friday, April 28 at 8 pm, and Saturday, April 29 at 2 and 8 pm. Saturday afternoon will be when the show will be presented to the 50 plus Cappie critics who have signed up to observe this production. All seats are $7 presale/$8 at the door. Tickets can be reserved beginning Monday, April 24th by calling the following phone numbers: 703-426-1070 - For Information Only. 703-455-1762 - To Reserve Tickets on answering machine or send an email to www.lbttickets.com. For information check our website at www.lbtheatre.com.