POST: 'A Clockwork Orange' - a lot to take in
What it's about.
A Clockwork Orange is a play based on the 1962 novel of the same name written by Anthony Burgess that focuses on juvenile delinquent Alex DeLarge and his group of 'Droogs' that find pleasure and joy in violence, crime, rape and "moloko plus" - aka drug laced milk.
Okay. Let me just begin this by saying that I was terrified going into this show. I had heard about the novel and movie for years and never knew anything about it other than it was disturbing and highly graphic. So, naturally while I waited for the show in my amazing fourth row seat in a room clouded with fog and filled with the sound of trippy music, I could feel my heart start to race and my hands begin to sweat. Irrational? Maybe. I'm a bit of a wuss tbh.
The show begins and the first bit of dialogue starts. I'm immediately confused. Are these guys speaking English because I don't have the slightest clue what they are saying. There were moments when people in the audience laughed at something that was said, that I totally missed. That confusion lasted for almost the entire show. I later found out that the language spoken is totally intentional and is called "Nadsat" - a form of Russian-influenced slang. That might have been helpful to know beforehand...
Despite the language barrier, I found myself so enthralled by the physicality of the production. To my surprise, the cast is made up entirely of highly fit and muscular men. And given the level of movement in the show, it seemed totally necessary. Even though I couldn't understand most of what was said, alot of the story line seemed to be told incredibly clearly through the physical actions of the stage. I remember very clearly the first scene at the milk bar, I didn't understand the point of it given that I never read the book or the movie. But after the Droogs drank it all, I could tell there was some kind of drug effect, based exclusively on the way they moved afterwards. There were several moments when I found myself not wanting to get the slightest bit distracted out of fear that I would miss something vital.
This show was a lot to take in. I felt like I was watching a show on speed 10x, and I wasn't fully prepared for the ride. But yet, I found myself so intrigued and even found myself feeling sorry for Alex. Yes Alex. The Droogs' leader who literally has zero empathy. That guy. And that happens because after he signs up to take part in an experiment done on troubled youth after prison, I started to see an extreme parallel to our world today. Do we still have a government system that treats troubled youth like total animals? Yes. Is it fair to treat someone as awful as Alex as a lost cause and even a little bit like an animal instead of giving him support and even mental help? I don't think so.
I was torn because as many awful things Alex did throughout his teens, I thought his punishment was so dehumanizing and makes me wonder how prisoners feel under our prison system. One of the lines that Alex says towards the end of the show is "being young is like being an animal." That stood out to me because animals can be feral. They can be reckless and dangerous. But with training and even a little bit of love, they can be tamed. How much of our troubled youth today just needs a bit of both? How many Alex DeLarge's could be saved if they were treated less like feral lions that can't be saved?
Yes, this show is a bit trippy. Yes, I had to rely way more on my vision than on my hearing to understand what was happening. But I still left feeling incredibly moved. Moved by the themes it presented and straight up moved by the level of energy, commitment and physicality I witnessed by those (incredibly attractive) men on stage. I was disturbed but in the best possible way. And what makes this all 100x better? This production was directed by a woman. #GIRLSRULE
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