"Free speech is my right to say what you don't want to hear."

"The further a society drifts from Truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."

"The people will believe what the media tells them they believe."

"The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of history."

"There is no swifter route to the corruption of thought than through the corruption of language."

"The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection."

"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it."

- George Orwell

(Continued …)

Today there is the palpable fear of retribution should one publicly express thoughts not in line with the establishment collective.  Even Left leaning academics, journalists, novelists, students who dared inject an alternate point of view into a socio-political conversation have found themselves cyber shamed, deplatformed, blacklisted or even fired.  Government agencies have infiltrated social media companies and targeted users and open dialogue that run counter to their narratives.  The content that AI engines train on is being censored so future generations will only know what these Government Agencies and Big Tech. want them to know.  Surveillance cameras have long been ubiquitous and may now be enhanced with facial recognition software.  We will soon be adopting a fully digitized currency and outlawing cash.  Every transaction, by law, will be recorded on a centralized government ledger.   And the rebranding of Free Speech, Due Process, Diversity of Thought etc. as Right Wing by many who ironically call themselves, "Liberal", is a bothersome example of Doublethink.  If you oppose such values, you are illiberal!

The theatrical community seems lacking in voice and urgency to take on these issues.  Why?  When CONFLICTING ideas and motives are engagingly staged and performed, theatre is at its best!  The imagination of the public stays engaged through the dramatization of a broad pallet of ideas, genres and styles.  The freedom to provoke, challenge the status quo and yes, sometimes offend people's sensibilities are important elements needed in any true artists' toolkit.  Restricting such devices, no matter the justification, would manifest Orwell's fear of bland conformity.  As such, it is paramount that we all work toward embracing all points of view and theatrical styles so the current and future theatrical landscape is vital and relevant.

C. L. Bannon