poster of play

Broadway Adaptation of “1984” Makes Audience Violently Ill

Jennifer Lawrence is frequently attributed as the most relatable celebrity, due to some clumsy slips and an obsession with pizza. Viewers of the Broadway adaptation of 1984 who puked can now also wipe their brow and feel related to.


Lawrence wasn’t the first to get sick at this show (though she chalks it up to the flu and not the performance) as several ticket holders have had troubles with stomaching the troubling scenes.


The star of the play, Olivia Wilde, tweeted her thoughts on the occurrence, saying she felt hashtag-honored.


image of tweet from Wilde


This is Wilde’s debut into Broadway. Wilde and other cast members are attributing to The Hollywood Reporter these instances to the torture scene. “I’m not surprised since this experience is unique, bold and immersive,” says Wilde. “It allows you to empathize in a visceral way, and that means making the audience physically and emotionally uncomfortable.’



Actors Sturridge and Wilde


Wilde and Sturridge, via Just Jared


Apart from being violently ill, the audience has also become just violent. Cops have been called when arguments broke out between members of the crowd when it got out of hand.


The directors of the show rated it for children 13 and above for a reason. They refused to dilute it for audiences. “We’re not trying to be willfully assaultive or exploitatively shock people, but there’s nothing here or in the disturbing novel that isn’t happening right now, somewhere around the world…” says Duncan McMillian, co-director of “1984”.

“We can sanitize that and make people feel comforted, or we can simply present it without commentary and allow it to speak for itself… But if this show is the most upsetting part of anyone’s day, they’re not reading the news headlines. Things are much worse than a piece of theater getting under your skin a little bit.” said the other director Robert Icke to Daily Mail.


Sturridge suffering.


Winston after torture, via Deadline


Doing more than just avoiding the “sanitization” of torture, the play’s torture scene features flashing strobe lights, jackhammers, and fake blood. Actor Tom Sturridge, who plays Winston, makes a point to stare in the eyes of audience members as he is electrocuted, to make them feel complicit while he is suffering.


The actors suffered for some of the performance, as well. Sturridge broke his nose, Wilde broke her tailbone and split her lip during the previews. Despite all the pain and sickness, critics have said that the show is “worth the cost of your losing your lunch.”

“1984” has amassed more popularity, even though it is over 50 years old, it still rings true. In a year where books sales are low, read the article to find out why that could be it was able to top charts again, with the help of Trump’s presidency.


Feature courtesy of The Hudson Broadway.