Five Questions with Ursula Mills

By February 21, 2017News

What was your very first connection with 1984?
‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’ That was the trivia question. “Which book begins with this line …“, without missing a beat, Gig Clarke picked up the pencil and wrote ‘1984′. I read 1984 that weekend. That was 12 years ago.

What does 1984 mean to you?
It means a world in which society is constantly surveilled. Where our personal information is no longer personal. Where the assault of media, news and advertising have the power to manipulate the thoughts of the people. It’s the world we live in now; monitoring, voyeurism and scrutiny, all for the best interest of our ‘security’. It has always been relevant, however, societal awareness are making methods more transparent and less covert. We know that the Government are using technological companies as proxies to gain access to private information. Every time you log on to your computer you leave a digital footprint. We are completely integrated and connected, and that data is being harvested and shared. It’s terrifying.

Do you have a favourite Orwell quote?
“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else”.

What is your most enduring memory of the book?
The betrayal of love and one’s own humanity when faced with deep fear. The soul being broken to conform. Defeated.

How important do you think it is for audiences to see 1984 onstage now, in 2017?
The fictionalised depiction of society in 1984 has become more real and pertinent to our current society, especially in the wake of the US Election. Since January, Orwell’s novel has skyrocketed, It’s sold out at the corner bookstore and the local library have their copies all loaned out. There’s a resurgence in interest because of an intensified global anxiety about the political climate and the parallels between the dystopian and the present are palpable: “alternative facts” are comparable to the concept of ‘doublethink’, the threat to democracy and the advent of ‘fake news’.