Is a peaceful domestic dream life still possible in our violent reality? Orphans by Dennis Kelly is an electrifying tale about a middle-class couple, Helen and Danny, who are trying to have a normal domestic life until Liam, Helen’s brother, enters covered in blood, turning their dinner and life on their heads. What unfolds is a series of twists and turns of violence and racism, raising the question of whether a peaceful and domestic life is possible in a violent world.
The last few years have felt particularly prophetic as the global timeline twists in on itself with the rise of fascism in the west, the collapse of democracy in Hong Kong, the civil rights movement of Black Lives Matter, and the “unprecedented” times of COVID-19 which saw responses from political leaders uncannily similar to the AIDS crisis and the 1918 flu pandemic. So it’s not surprising to see artists turn to the well-worn narratives of George Orwell as an imperfect mirror for the cycle of oppression and revolution we’re living through.