1984 Language/Power Faculty Learning Community

Join us to discuss, experience or wonder about George Orwell's popular novel, 1984, especially as we continue to grapple with similar issues in 2024. Then, in May 2024, join SJSU Department of Film, Theater, and Dance in their stage-adaptation of 1984 at the Hammer Theatre Center. The Language/Power Faculty Learning Community invites everyone to join in the conversation about language and power in the powerful novel, 1984. Assignments and activities created by the FLC are available for use in the classroom while other pop-up programming will be confirmed and added below.  

1984 Synopsis & SJSU Production

Play Adaptation

1984 is Bay Area artist Michael Gene Sullivan’s critically acclaimed stage adaptation based on the iconic novel by George Orwell of a very possible oppressive present/future. Mr. Sullivan’s script uses multiple theatrical conventions to zoom in on the personal journey through reenactments of key moments in one man’s life while he is incarcerated. As we attempt to build ourselves back better, 1984 offers a cautionary tale as well as a reminder that in a democracy we the people are the government. That we are creators of our own institutions and must shape and nurture our political structures with care. It shows the results of what can happen if we embrace dogmatism without examination and clutch onto our divisions without empathy.

Michael Gene Sullivan is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright. As an actor and director his work includes productions with the American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Magic, Marin, Eureka, and Lorraine Hansberry Theaters, Theatreworks, and the San Francisco and African American Shakespeare Companies. As a playwright, Mr. Sullivan's political dramas, musicals, and satires have been performed at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the International Festival of Verbal Art (Berlin), The Hong Kong Arts Festival, and in Greece, Spain, Columbia, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and in theaters throughout the United States. In 1989 Mr. Sullivan became a member of the Tony and OBIE award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he has acted in, directed, or written over 30 productions. In 2000 he became the Troupe's Resident Playwright, and has since written some of SFMT's most successful political comedies. His adaptation of 1984 had its world premiere in 2006 at the Actor’s Gang in Los Angeles and was directed by the academy award winning actor Tim Robbins. After several extended runs in LA it has had several national and international productions SJSU

Lecturer Scott Cummins will direct this production. Throughout his career Scott has directed projects that insist on audiences to be active witnesses to the events onstage, giving them the task of self-reflection, with the goal of re-invigorating their inner activist and enhancing their own self-improvement. 

Purchase tickets from the Hammer Theatre box office:

  • Students: $10
  • SJSU Faculty & Staff: $20

Assignments & Activities

Pop-Up Events around SJSU

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Riana Betzler (riana.betzler@sjsu.edu).