Intifada!” the animals scream. Strobe lights flash and heavy metal music blares as they chase Jones from the farm. The animals are ecstatic. They have finally overthrown their oppressor and now they are free! They set the farm up as a commune where all animals are equal; however, disparities soon emerge and the commune’s ideologies are manipulated and twisted by those in positions of power.
With the focal point of George Orwell’s Animal Farm evolving around the corrupting force of power, The Freedom Theatre’s adaptation gives this theme a decidedly Palestinian twist by connecting it closely to internal social and political issues.
The Freedom Theatre’s adaptation certainly stays true to Orwell’s fierce critique of revolutionaries imitating their oppressors. The head pig, Napoleon, flanks himself with two black-clad, Kalashnikov-toting dogs with sunglasses. After moving into the farmer’s house, Napoleon hangs a giant portrait of himself in a dark suit and tie above the farmyard. The human who comes to talk business at the play’s end wears a green army uniform and speaks Hebrew.
The Freedom Theatre’s version of Animal Farm gives a unique perspective on current events and allows the audience to reflect critically on their own reality in relation to at once different and similar circumstances. As such, staging this play emphasises the importance of contemporary art, critical approaches and freedom of speech, and brings out the potential of theatre in generating social change.
By all accounts, George Orwell would be proud. – The National