A CLOCKWORK ORANGE takes center stage at the Jobsite Theater


“Neither the Church nor the State taught us to create…” – alexander

Is a man who chooses evil perhaps somehow better than a man who has

the good imposed on him?” – Chaplain

In 1962, English author Anthony Burgess published the Dystopian-Black Comedy novel titled A Clockwork Orange. The novel itself was partially written in a Russian-influenced slang called “Nadsat” which, in a Russian suffix, took its namesake for the equivalent of “TEEN” in English. In 2005, the novel was included by Time Magazine in a list as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The novel is divided into three parts: Alex’s World, Ludovico Technique and After Prison, and each of the three parts of the novel only contained 7 chapters. 7 x 3 = 21 which was an intentional nod to the age of 21 which is considered a milestone in adult maturation.

Prior to the year 1986, American copies omitted the 21st chapter. In doing so, author Anthony Burgess intended the novel to end on a darker note. Kubrick’s film which came out in 1971 insisted that the 21st chapter of the novel was unconvincing and inconsistent with the script, and therefore for his purposes, and because he wrote the script before reading the updated novel, Kubrick omitted anything from the 21st chapter of his film. Fans of the English novel chastised the film for omitting this source material.

The phrase “…as weird as a Clockwork Orange…“Often considered slang Cockney was overheard in a London pub in 1947 by Burgess and so led the title of his novel. The idea that man was “just a wind-up toy either by God, either by the Devil, or by the State”, had a great influence on the novel in Burgess’ eyes and contributed to Alex’s arc in the story. Many adaptations have been made over the years, stage adaptations of the 1965 film. Vinyl of Andy Warhol which would be an adaptation of the text of Burgess.

On the other hand, Stanley Kubrick made a film adaptation of Burgess’ novel which came out in 1971 after Critical Acclaim. Stanley Kubrick who at the time was at the helm of an epic Napoleon Bonaparte sparked the idea of ​​a screenplay based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, after his wife gave him a copy after reading it of the material. Immediately leaving Napoleon aside, Kubrick began to work on A Clockwork Orange. Starring Malcolm McDowell as Alex, the film opened to polarizing reviews for its depiction of controversial graphic violence and sexually explicit scenes. The film further drew even more criticism when it inspired copycat acts of violence among young people. Kubrick’s film was banned in several countries after its release. Although it received an X rating in the United States after its release, it received an R rating in 1972 after Kubrick proceeded to remove 30 seconds of sexually explicit footage. The film received 4 nominations at the 44th Academy Awards and in 2020 was entered into the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. Based on an ongoing lecture on free will, the omission of the final chapter prompted A clockwork orange in cult status. A depiction of communist society and Russian culture, the film leaned more to show a failing socialist society on the verge of authoritarianism. A cult-classic nonetheless, but the question remains whether it was done for mere shock value or political commentary?

On March 3, 2022, an exciting event occurred. A Clockwork Orange: A Game with Music entered its final preview ahead of opening night. The most exciting thing was not only the debut of this incredibly brilliant play, but also the fact that the Jobsite Theatre, Resident Theater Company of the Straz Center, returned to its hallowed home in front of a live audience for the first time in two years. It felt like I was wrapped in a warm blanket as I entered the Shimberg for the first time since the novel COVID-19 pandemic blocked everything in its path.

Boasting a young cast, some of whom hadn’t been on stage for almost two years, the Jobsite Theater and director Dan Granke helmed a superb production. Stylistically beautiful, with something to recognize at every turn, this production is not for the faint-hearted. Adapted from Burgess’s novel more than Kubrick’s film, and used socio-political satire A Clockwork Orange: A Game with Music is exceptional. A 51-page script, turned into a 90-minute, unrestricted non-intermission, for all of this is Jobsite as it was meant to be. A raw, emotional and powerful statement taken to the extreme, Jobite does what it does best.

Donovan Whitney leads this group of misfits and droogs as Alex, our protagonist and story narrator. He is exceptional from start to finish and 100% grounded every moment. To steal the eyes would be to miss a deluge of information. His Alex is tactical and pragmatic, yet strong and stoic with every beat. He has no restraint when necessary and is reserved in the best moments. He should be extremely proud of his presence here because it left me in shock even hours later. Boasting an incredibly strong ensemble including William Alejandro Barbra, Jada Canty, Kiara Flowers, Amanda Heisey, Haley Janeda, Daniel Lennox, Jr., Brianna McVaugh, Omen Thomas Sade and Jared Sellick, this cast is terrific and exquisite from top to bottom. .

The best of the show goes to Omen Thomas Sade as Dim, Prisoner, Comedian, et al. Like the master of ceremonies in Cabaret he’s seductive and exceptionally sneaky and you don’t want to miss a single beat. Every time he takes the stage, albeit briefly sometimes, you can’t help but watch his every move. An exceptional turning point for this actor and who will be on my radar for future performances.

What’s it gonna be then, huh?

What’s it gonna be then, huh?

Tolchocking, dratsing and kicking the yarblockos,

Blows on the gulliver, fists in the plot.

Gromky grand shooms to the bratchified millicent,

Viddy the krovvy comes out of his rot.

Ptitsas and cheenas and starry babushkas

-A crack in the real kishkas horror movie.

Give it to them, whether they like it or not.” –Drugs

Technically stunning, Dan Granke and his team have produced a piece de resistance here. Brian Smallheer’s ensemble is functional and streamlined. It works to tell the world in which our Droog’s story exists. The wonderful, almost clinical white of the tile gives it a mental institution vibe and it’s beautiful to maintain. Some moving sets and a rolling restraint chair lend themselves well to the present moment in the story. Katrina Stevenson’s costumes are gorgeous. An interesting juxtaposition of the clinically satirical white used in the film. The black is a great contrast to the white tile and allows the characters more depth in their arcs. My favorite thing about the costumes is the stunning art created on the leather jackets. This could be displayed on a runway, or in any fashion house. I would wear them 100% in a second. The use of color is exquisite here, and Katrina should be commended for her outstanding work in bringing these characters to life. The fight choreography works on every level and is believable in every way. Jo Averill-Snell’s lighting design is perfect for the world the Droogs inhabit. Jeremy Douglass’ unique sound design blends the weird with the terrific, and the grotesque with the beautiful, completing a conceptually exquisite world.

Dan Granke sums it up best in their manager’s note saying, “In America, at this point, we also have to ask ourselves serious questions about which bodies become violent, and when, and ask ourselves why something is only appropriate when used by the state or other institutions. ideological, but must be rejected in our nature. In many ways in the world of the play, Alex is abandoned and used by everyone and everything from his family to the government to the “freedom fighters” who plan to save him. The set is relatively young and represents a sample of us. Seeing them come together to tell a story about the old institutions that failed them is something that should resonate today…” As director, Dan Granke took a story based on different viewpoints and made it consistent with the world we live in now, and for that, I commend them for that effort.

If you’re looking for a story grounded in cultural significance, if you need a story that bears witness to an ever-changing world, then look no further than A Clockwork Orange: A Game with Music. Please don’t expect an adaptation of Kubrick’s film, as this is the newest adaptation with an ending that has to be seen to be believed! Produced by the exceptional ensemble of the Jobsite Theatre, this FINAL PREVIEW was a feast for the eyes and the mind. The play is due to end on March 27, so hurry to strazcenter.org or jobitetheater.org to get tickets to this exceptionally stunning and relevant show. Alex and his Droogs await your arrival… what are you waiting for?

A man who cannot choose ceases to be a man…”- Chaplain

Man is a fruit, a creature of juice, color and fragrance. They rip out his marrow and turn him into a robot. They will try to do it to all of us. But you, poor victim, you will be a witness against them.” – Alexander

Photo credit: Pritchard Photography

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