NEPA Scene Staff

Orwell’s ‘1984’ play adaptation premieres in Pa. with Scranton Fringe at Lackawanna College July 27-29

Orwell’s ‘1984’ play adaptation premieres in Pa. with Scranton Fringe at Lackawanna College July 27-29
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From a press release:

Big Brother is watching, and all of Northeastern Pennsylvania will soon be watching too.

This summer, the Scranton Fringe Festival is producing the Pennsylvania premiere of Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s gripping adaptation of the George Orwell classic “1984.”

This dark dystopian masterpiece will be presented at the Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College in downtown Scranton on Thursday, July 27 through Saturday, July 29.

“1984” is a timeless play that questions the fundamentals of society in the past, present, and future. Scranton Fringe actors are preparing to deliver a thought-provoking and immersive experience that explores themes of freedom, government control, and the shape of reality.

The cast includes local actors Kimmie Leff, Mandy Pennington, Conor McGuigan, Terry Thompson, Sam Falbo, and Cecelia Pugh, as well as Philadelphia actor Chris Fitting and New York’s David Shakopi and Joelle Woodson.

“I have been performing with Scranton Fringe for years and I am eager to participate in another great production,” said Leff, who plays the character of Julia.

“I think this performance will deliver a timely experience of power and urgency to our audience.”

The cast and crew of “1984” has spent months working behind the scenes to present another captivating Scranton Fringe production.

“We are pleased to reintroduce ‘1984’ to our audience, seeing as how it is still relevant in our society today,” said Conor Kelly O’Brien, the director of “1984” and co-founder of Scranton Fringe.

“We have an amazing group of actors and an extraordinary production team that makes this all happen.”

This version of “1984” premiered at the Nottingham Playhouse in 2013 before transferring the following year to London, where it played four engagements. The production then opened on Broadway for a limited run in 2017. The show comes with a content warning – it contains flashing lights, loud noises, gunshots, and depictions of graphic violence.

The official synopsis reads:

Winston Smith, living under the totalitarian rule of the Party, has the idea of writing a diary. It is a crime punishable by death and there is no way of knowing if he is being watched. He imagines two futures – in one, a future readership in a free society thinks of him as a hero; in the other, he is caught, executed, and forgotten. Perhaps both things are true. That day, during the obligatory “Two Minutes Hate,” he wonders who else might be harboring thoughts of rebellion, and who may be working for the Thought Police. Winston starts the diary. He writes the year, so far as he knows it – 1984. This multi-award-winning adaptation of Orwell’s ultimate dystopian novel continues to resonate throughout the world, perhaps now more than ever.

This special presentation is a mainstage production of Scranton Fringe, falling outside of their annual arts festival, which is held every fall, thanks to a residency within the Lackawanna College Theater. This partnership began last year when the Fringe produced “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” by Anne Washburn, directed by Brooklyn-based theatre artist and Scranton native Simone Daniel.

Since the beginning of Scranton Fringe in 2015, the company has grown from one annual performing arts festival in the fall (set to return this September) to hosting the annual Big Gay StorySlam and Scranton StorySlam events, performing various original plays at the Lackawanna Winter Market, producing summer productions at Lackawanna College, organizing a wide range of artistic workshops for all ages, and more.

Scranton Fringe has recently introduced a new membership program to support the nonprofit and its year-round programming. Fringe members receive certain tickets free with the purchase of a membership, including “1984.”

“1984” runs on Thursday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, July 29 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College (501 Vine St., Scranton). Tickets, which are $22, are on sale now at

See behind-the-scenes photos of the cast rehearsing by Jason Riedmiller Photography below: