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Produced by The Company Theatre

Directed by John Britton

Dramaturgy: Manjari Kaul

Lights: Gurleen Judge

Music: Nikhil Nagraj

Devised and performed by Avantika Bahl, Abhishek Krishnan, Manjari Kaul, Niharika Lyra Dutt, Srishti Shrivastav.

The piece was performed in 2019.

Imagining the world of George Orwell in the times of surveillance. Inspired by George Orwell’s life and novels, especially 1984, Homage to Catalonia and Animal Farm, Whirlpool is a devised piece with an emphasis on ensemble work. It explores how to live in the age of internet-of-things and social media surveillance. Colliding Orwell’s work with our contemporary realities, the play looks at how power-dynamics shape and create our peculiar cultural vocabulary. Whirlpool starts from the life of Indian-born British writer George Orwell, though the scope of the production moves well beyond biography. The aesthetic is radical, physical, confrontational, playful and experimental. It explores the dystopian visions of Orwell and his imagination - how Orwell’s visions are being brutally realised in contemporary Indian and global politics - not only through drawing parallels with contemporary events, but examining how today’s politics has moved beyond Orwell’s visions, as technology and Artificial Intelligence expand their potential and reach.

As Orwell wrote: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”. The advent of self-evolving Artificial Intelligence takes us into a world beyond Orwell’s dystopia. ‘Whirlpool’ is a piece in which reality is constantly destabilised. It is direct and funny and yet constantly what the audience has come to believe as the ‘reality’ of the piece will be subverted. The ultimate questions will concern who is controlling who, and how.

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