POST: 'A Clockwork Orange' - the ultra violence was all there

What's it about?

Alex, along with his four Droogies torment the streets of London, on a series of ultra violent adventures. When Alex is finally taken to prison and forced to face his crimes, he is given an ultimatum to lose the essence of who he is or be a free man.  

What did I experience?

The ultra violence was all there. Every bit of it, including all the full moons (Butt) and eggplant emojis ;) I saw EVERYTHING.

Most important thing to note is that I am a huge (understatement) fan of A Clockwork Orange. So, naturally, I was really nervous about seeing my droogies on stage. Whenever I theorized about seeing this story unfold on stage, it just seemed impossible. It's such a complex plot that can easily get lost amongst its heinous crimes. Alex himself is probably just as complicated as Ed Gein - except he would probably think skinning someone would be too messy - yet charismatic enough to lure you into his world. 

I was so glad to see the essence of each droogie to a T, with a grungy undertone that highlighted their savage nature. Alex was of course reprised his role as leader of the pack, then we had Dim, the Forest Gump of the group, followed by Georgie and Pete, respectively known as greedy and softy (as soft as a droog can be, so not very). The droogs are near and dear to my heart, so I was really pumped to find that they were vibing off one another. Probably a horrible example, but there was an explicit rape seen where the droogs all share a woman and the way they all interact and address themselves showed this brotherly bond that nearly made me forget about the vile act they were performing. 

Although the timeperiod of the characters was slightly changed (90's vibes), the language remained the same. We still had Alex - a teenage boy- who spoke in a poetic versus. That really helped make his narrations feel intimate - addressing the audience as "And so Brothers and Sisters..." It made you understand why he was able to manipulate those around him with his philosophical words. 

With the shear (as well as sheer for Alex's underwear) amount of nudity, you'd think that would be a flaw. Yet, it all felt essential because of the nature of the story.

You can imagine my surprise when I found the ending to be it's most disappointing part. Now, I should say it probably was everyone else's favorite part, because it was a happy ending.  For me, on the other hand, it was torture. It was probably the most optimistic ending I've seen in any Clockwork Orange adaption - given that I've read and seen the movie over thirty times, I get to compare.   

It all begins as soon as Alex finds out, while imprisoned for two years, that an experiment by the name of the Ludovico technique is being offered to inmates as a quick get out of jail free card. Except this isn't Monopoly and Alex ends up being tortured under the pretense that the government is making him better. The truth is that the prison is overcrowded and they need to get rid of people, quick. Alex offers himself, in the hopes of getting an early release, completely unaware of the trauma he will be subjected to.  

The treatments consists of showing the patient violent images while inducing vomit. This makes the person relate violence with getting sick and so they will be unable to carry out such violent acts. Unfortunately for Alex , his taste in music was the reason he lost himself. Our humble narrator's favorite music piece - Symphony No.9 by Ludwig Van Beethoven - is also the score to the holocaust film he is last shown. Due to the treatment, every time Alex hears the lovely sound of the ninth he is sickened. That part of him was probably his most human characteristic and is ripped away from him. 

There is something so dark about seeing Alex lose the essence of who he is at the very end. Even under the pretense of having him stand against violence, the treatment leaves him defenseless. He is entirely incapable of defending himself when he is attacked physically or verbally. After the government is publicly ridiculed for having put Alex through that, they are keen to strike up a deal so he doesn't sell his story. They offer to 'treat' Alex once again and restore him to his original self. This is were the story typically ends. Usually its an ending that is open to the audiences interpretation. Alex claims that he is, "cured, alright.".

I have two interpretations of Alex's final state:
1) he is restored to his ultra violent self, but promises to keep control of it. This is what I call the Dexter method - serial killer by night and normal person by day.
2) his experience while being 'good' has actually made him consider the possibility of leaving his violent past in order to seek a  socially acceptable life.

This show chose two, but he decided to gives Alex a moment to indulge in the idea that having a family may be something he would like and completely dismisses all of Alex's crimes as a period of innocent violent youth. 


Want to see it?

$25 Student Tickets

A Clockwork Orange
Hubris Theatre Company
@ Roy Arias Studio 7
(Sage Theatre)
thru Oct. 31