Everyone’s so happy it’s
a complete nightmare...

A scene from Brave New World, at the Grand in November
A scene from Brave New World, at the Grand in November

Theatregoers are being challenged to take a step into a Brave New World.

As part of a world premiere tour, a new stage adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s 1930s’ novel, comes to the Grand Theatre next month.

Producer Matthew Gale promises anyone who attends the show a thought-provoking piece of work.

In a similar vein to Orwell’s 1984, it’s a dystopian view of the future - where only happiness exists.

“The extraordinary thing about theatre is that it sits between a book – which this work is based on, and a film,” he said.

“A book, you have to use complete imagination and a film you are given everything and can sit back and watch aimlessly.

“That will not be the case with Brave New World.”

“We have a helicopter in this, and we don’t go Miss Saigon, we give the impression of it.

“What we are able to do, because of the collective experience of theatre, is to touch people in a way you might not be touched by a book or film.”

In Brave New World, Matthew says, everyone is ‘genetically engineered to be happy’ - but the work asks if that is really enough in life for humans.

“We all strive for it, but happiness without humanity or without sadness is meaningless,” he said. “And in the case of Brave New World there’s no love or marriage, but there is sex.

“All of those things sound great but happiness doesn’t really exist without sadness and sex is meaningless without love.

“It’s really a fairly terrible world but it reflects our society.

“Hopefully people will look at it and think about their own lives.”

Huxley’s novel was written in 1931, and set 200 years in the future from then.

Little did he know the scientific and technological advances which would come to pass.

“There’s genetic engineering now, although not on humans at this point,” Matthew added. “But pretty soon they will be able to produce humans outside the womb, which does happen in Brave New World.

“But then there are a lot of things in it which they could never have predicted – email, Facebook.

“Certainly in 100 years from now – when the story takes place – an awful lot more will have changed than could have possibly been imagined.

“When it was written before DNA was discovered, but then there’s talk about genetics.

“Do we just allow things to happen, or do we stand up and ask ‘Is this what we want?’

“Illness has been eradicated in Brave New World, we’re not there yet but we are getting there, cancer and heart disease recovery is so much better than it was.

“There are so many questions to explore; How do we deal with it all, and with living forever and just choosing when we die?”

* Brave New World, Grand Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday, November 24 to 28.