Unpresence: Headlong’s 1984 and the screen on stage

  • Vera Cantoni Università di Pavia
Keywords: screen, Orwell, 1984, dramatization, Headlong, stage, playwriting


The article focuses on Headlong’s dramatisation of 1984 (2013) and on the role played in it by a stage-wide screen as a significant example of what relevant and specific functions video can have in a rather traditional theatre production. After an overview of the relation between the screen on stage and the novel’s ‘telescreens’, a semiological analysis of the mediated images shows that the effect of 1984’s screen is both unique, in that it identifies the audience with the Thought Police, and exemplary of video’s ability to present theatre with the otherness of ‘a presence that is not there’.


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Author Biography

Vera Cantoni, Università di Pavia

Vera Cantoni is a postdoc researcher at Università di Pavia. Her main research interests are contemporary British playwriting and the stage history of Shakespeare’s plays. Among her publications: New Playwriting at Shakespeare’s Globe (2017), “Othello in Hip-Hop: La traduzione di un classico della letteratura teatrale in una lingua orale del ventunesumo secolo“ (2018), “I’m juss sayin...”. Street speech on stage and page in Ché Walker’s The Frontline“ (2016), “Testualmente. L’elaborazione drammaturgica delle fonti nel teatro verbatim” (2015), “Come all ye theatregoers – L’uso della ballad in alcune histories del xxi secolo” (2015).

Email: vera.cantoni01@ateneopv.it


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How to Cite
Cantoni, V. (2018). Unpresence: Headlong’s 1984 and the screen on stage. Between, 8(16). https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3335