Renegade Theatre Experiment Presents Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

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In A Clockwork Orange, we follow the journey of fourteen year old Alex, leader of the Droogs, a violent youth gang that roams the streets robbing, raping, torturing and murdering in the name of fun. After being sent to prison for life on a murder charge, Alex is given the option of being released in two weeks by being the guinea pig for new state-sanctioned behavioral modification, known as the Ludovico technique. As a result of the therapy, Alex becomes extremely ill whenever violent thoughts occur. Alex returns to society, but has difficulty living a normal life, having been robbed of free will.

WHAT'S it going to be then, eh? With these immortal words, Renegade Theatre Experiment (RTE) begins the final show of their successful 2008/2009 season with a little of the old ultraviolence of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.

In A Clockwork Orange, we follow the journey of fourteen year old Alex, leader of the Droogs, a violent youth gang that roams the streets robbing, raping, torturing and murdering in the name of fun. After being sent to prison for life on a murder charge, Alex is given the option of being released in two weeks by being the guinea pig for new state-sanctioned behavioral modification, known as the Ludovico technique. As a result of the therapy, Alex becomes extremely ill whenever violent thoughts occur. Alex returns to society, but has difficulty living a normal life, having been robbed of free will.

Burgess (The Enderby quartet, Earthly Powers), thinking he was dying from an inoperable brain tumor, penned his best known novel in 1960 to examine the turbulence of youth and the importance of free will. When the novel was published in America in 1962, the final chapter was cut by the editor thinking that American audiences preferred seeing the demise of an unrepentant individual rather than seeing Alex experience the human capacity for change. This was the version on which Stanley Kubrick based his 1971 film of the same name. Burgess was never satisfied with how the film turned out, so, in 1986 he completed the stage version of his novel, A Clockwork Orange: a play with music, which includes the final chapter of the story. As to why he wrote a stage version, Burgess responded "It is to provide a definitive actable version which has auctorial authority. And, moreover, it is a version which, unlike Kubrick's cinema adaptation, draws on the entirety of the book, presenting at the end a hooligan hero who is now growing up, falling in love, proposing a decent bourgeois life with a wife and family, and consoling us with the doctrine that aggression is an aspect of adolescence which maturity rejects."

The challenge when RTE decided to stage Burgess' play was how it was relevant to today's society. "In the 60's and 70's, the level of violence in both the novel and film was absolutely shocking and considered almost pornographic in nature" says Artistic Director Sean C. Murphy. "The sad truth about our society today is that we are so desensitized to violence. We see it daily in the news, on TV, and in film."

Megan Murphy, the director of RTE's production, continues "We want the audience to see similarities between Alex and teens in local neighborhoods. We want the audience to recognize cynical adults who are trying to survive in a world that has become hostile and frustrating. We want this familiar story to become something vital for the present moment and not simply an enactment of history."

So how did RTE solve this issue? "By placing this story in contemporary California, we must update the scenario to be as troubling for current audiences as the youth violence was during Burgess's time" explains Ms. Murphy, "The trend of teen violence has increased recently and become noteworthy in the nightly news, especially when it come to girls attacking other girls. To this end, we have cast women in the roles of Alex and his Droogs. We are exploring a society that glorifies violence in its video games, movies, and songs while condemning the youth who interact with each other, with adults, and with the world through similar violent tactics. At what point does a child struggling with self-identity and values deserve to be deprived of choice and manipulated into submission? Is this really a lesson in right vs. wrong or is it a lesson in obedience?"

A Clockwork Orange runs January 23rd through February 7th at the Historic Hoover Theater in San Jose. Performances begin at 8:00pm, except Sunday matinees which are at 2pm. This show is recommended for mature audiences 18 and up. Tickets for A Clockwork Orange are $18.00 General Admission (Thursdays and Sundays) and $20.00 General Admission (Fridays and Saturdays). Students and teachers, seniors, and Theatre Bay Area members qualify for discount tickets ($13.00 Thu/Sun & $15.00 Fri/Sat) with valid ID. Tickets and season subscriptions are on sale at http://www.renegadetheatre.com.

The Renegade Theatre Experiment (RTE), founded in 2001, is the South Bay's voice for alternative theatre.

PUBLICITY PHOTOS: http://www.renegadetheatre.com/press
CONTACT: Cameron Fabrick
press @ renegadetheatre.com
Fax: (408) 351-4440

AN INVITATION TO THE MEDIA

Renegade Theatre Experiment proudly invites you to attend any of our opening weekend performances for Anthony Burgess' A CLOCKWORK ORANGE a play with music:

Historic Hoover Theater
1635 Park Avenue
San José, CA 95126.

January 23rd, 24th, and 25th
Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8:00 PM
Sunday matinee begins at 2:00 PM

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Cameron Fabrick
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