Broadway is currently hosting the Theatrical Adaptation of the 1949 dystopian novel written by George Orwell, 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' – or, as it is more commonly known '1984'. It seems the movie which was released rather appropriately in 1984, was pretty tame in comparison to the stage version. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Broadway production doesn’t hold back in any way when depicting scenes of torture and violence, spurring audience members to faint, vomit, and even get into fights.

Big Brother is in charge in ‘1984’

The novel '1984' speaks of a dystopian future, run by a totalitarian government dubbed 'The Party', which is headed up by Big Brother.

Civilians are kept under control using the suppression of free speech, individuality, sexuality and personal expression. The government employs tactics such as, constant surveillance, propaganda and outright brainwashing to keep people under control.

Following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, sales of the '1984' novel soared (along with various other dystopian tomes, including 'The Handmaid’s Tale'). This was particularly true after Kellyanne Conway famously used the term “alternative facts” to describe stories in the media – a term used in the Orwell novel.

Stage production of ‘1984’

The Broadway production is co-directed and co-written by Duncan Macmillan and Robert Icke, while the lead role of Winston Smith – a Ministry of Truth employee accused to disobey Party rules – is played by Tom Sturridge.

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He was found guilty of having an illegal dalliance with a woman by the name of Julia (played by Olivia Wilde).

The scene, which makes members of the audience vomit and faint, relates to Smith’s detainment by Big Brother for his transgressions against the government. Smith is taken to Room 101 and tortured in an effort to break his rebellious spirit. The worst part comes when Smith finally gives way, after they strap a cage of rats onto his head and the rodents are about to feast on his face. However, during and prior to this scene, the production utilizes an effective array of strobe lights and the torturous sound of a jackhammer to build suspense. When Smith is finally about to be electrocuted, he faces the audience from the stage, accusing them of complicity in his suffering.

In a critique for Vulture, Christopher Bonanos describes the torture scenes as being ghastly, visceral and vivid.

Bonanos continues by saying blood is spattered all over the stage. One command which reportedly badly affected the audience was the simple word, "teeth," as Smith was beaten around the face – another was "fingertips."

Audience members at ‘1984’ theatrical adaption faint and vomit

As reported by the Washington Post, in a preview run in London, as well as the current Broadway production, audience members at the '1984' stage production have been passing out and vomiting in the theater. In London, police were called to the scene to break up a fight in the audience, while others were shouting at the actors, imploring them to stop. The use of large screens in the background only adds to the tension.

Fainting reportedly also occurred at the opening on Broadway. However, despite the reaction of viewers, Icke and Macmillan say they are not holding back in the Broadway production. While they are not trying to purposely shock people, Macmillan went on to say there is nothing about the Broadway production – or the original dystopian novel – that isn’t happening somewhere in the world right now.

Macmillan said that people are currently being held without trial, tortured and executed in various parts of the world. He said they could sanitize that fact to make the audience feel comfortable, or they could simply proceed and present it, without commentary, allowing the events to speak for themselves.

Watch or leave says ‘1984’ co-director

According to Icke, audience members can stay and watch the torture scenes, or they can leave, adding that is a fine reaction to seeing someone tortured. He went on to say, however, that if the torture scenes are the most upsetting part of someone’s day, they are obviously not reading the news headlines, as the truth is far worse than any "piece of theater."

The stage production of '1984' does however, come with an age limit and trigger warning. Audience members are warned of the flashing lights and strobe effects, along with loud noises and graphic depictions of torture and violence. Children under the age of 14 are prohibited from attending, and the theater has posted security guards to monitor the reactions of the audience.

The play runs at the Hudson Theater in New York through September 30. Readers can learn more about the dystopian world of '1984' in the video included below.