Like the book, the play is set in a dystopian future (ha) where critical thought is subdued by a tyrannical and possibly fictional force known as Big Brother.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Wilde, 33, said that the torture scenes make for uncomfortable viewing, while show director Duncan Macmillan said he made a point not to water down the violence.
THR reported that an argument broke out among several audience members, prompting the police to get involved.
'We can sanitize that and make people feel comforted, or we can simply present it without commentary and allow it to speak for itself'.
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"You can stay and watch or you can leave - that's a perfectly fine reaction to watching someone be tortured", Icke said.
During the show, 31-year-old actor Tom Sturridge, who plays Winston Smith, is electrocuted. But if this show is the most upsetting part of anyone's day, they're not reading the news headlines. Security guards are also positioned throughout the play's home at the Hudson Theater in order to quell any aggressive responses from audience members. And just before opening night, the production began enforcing a strict age restriction, allowing no one under 13 years old to attend (it previously only had a warning of parental guidance in place). "It shows how middle-class and limp our art form has become, that nothing is ever scary enough for a [formal ratings system]".
Though young children are not allowed, those of all political affiliations are welcome, stressed Wilde.
"The term "Orwellian" is used by both sides of the aisle, and members of the right really claim this book as their own, so I hope they come see it", said Wilde.
One audience member, who sat among attendees including Jason Sudeikis, Robert Pattinson, Dana Delany and Michael Kors, was so impacted by the scenes that he yelled out, pleading for the actors to stop the torture scenes. "I hope this show makes people question everything they're being told".
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