It's All Over, Orwell - First Workshop

Orwell Workshop

We’ve almost finished our first week of workshops of It’s All Over, Orwell at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby. It’s been a lot of fun working with actors Nneka Croal and Brett Harris. We’re having a conversation with George Orwell. Theatre Conspiracy’s Tim Carlson is the medium.

The first few days have been about exploring some text Tim brought into the room. The following is a snippet of dialogue spoken by characters One and Two. They’re discussing the merits of George Orwell’s famous essay Politics and the English Language, published in 1947. Tomorrow we start throwing bodies around.


One: Rule: Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech, which you are used to seeing in print.

Two: Example: The omnibus bill is a dog’s breakfast of pork barrel politics.

One: Edit: The bill pays off politicians into voting for a wild collage of policy.

Two: Rule: Never use a long word where a short one will do.

One: Example: The intractability of poverty weighs upon our collective conscience.

Two: Edit: Losing the battle against poverty affects us all.

One: Rule: If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Two: Example: The gruesomely rotten t-bone steak had blue and green spots.

One: Edit: Blue-green spots of rot festered on the t-bone.

Two: Never use the passive voice where you can use the active.

One: After reading his article I had felt as if the author were attempting to convert me to his side with an argument that faltered as it ran on forever stating the obvious time after time.

Two: That hack’s article stated the obvious, repeatedly, and at great length.

One: Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Two: Behavioural geneticists affirm pan-cultural schadenfreude.

One: Scientists prove Germans are not alone in enjoying others’ misery.

Two: Last Rule: Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


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