From the state that gave the world Josef Stalin, a deeply poignant, epic retelling of
George Orwell's satricial masterpiece by Georgia's globally renowned
Tumanishvili Film Actors' Theatre Company of Tbilisi This production was rehearsed at the Tumanishvili Film Actor's Theatre in Tbilisi, Georgia in June 2014 and world premiered at the Edinburgh Festival (Assembly George Square Theatre), on August 2nd 2014 subsequently playing for 24 performances.
The show was universally acclaimed and won THE STAGE AWARD - BEST ENSEMBLE 2014.
FOR ALL EASTERN EUROPEAN TOURING AND FESTIVAL ENQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT KETI DOLIDZE at Tumanishvili Film Actor's Theatre (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The show requires up to 35 persons on the road including 25 cast and 10 backstage and technical staff.
It requires a minimum playing space of 12m x 12m and a grid hight of 5m.
It requires a minimal set up time of 12 hours for lights, sound and dress rehearsal.
Some set pieces must be prepared in advance of arrival according to technical specifications
The Company will freight approximately 1000kg of set pieces to the venue OR excess baggage must be negotiated.
THE LIST 10/08/14 - OUTSTANDING AND ARRESTING "olivier award-winning director Guy Masterson has collaborated with artistic director Keti Dolidze and Georgia-based Tumanishvili Film Actors' Theatre for a sensational theatre adaptation of Orwell's classic dystopian tale exploring the devolution of communal politics on Manor Farm.
Stunning animal characterisation defines the play, with the noises and body language of each species impressively accurate. The stage opens to a bedlam of bodies (there are 25 actors in the troupe) who remain an almost constant presence. Yet individual performances are not lost in the noisy chaos, ensuring the hierarchy of the farmyard is expressed both through sight and sound as the plot unfolds.
By performing in Georgian, Stalin's native language, the cast honour the allegory of the animal fable in a unique and evocative way. Unfortunately, the performance was marred slightly by technical glitches surrounding the surtitles. However, this was not enough to overshadow the outstanding performance of the cast, who bring a new and arresting energy to this didactic story." (Maud Sampson - The List - 10/08/14)
COUNTER CULTURE 10/08/14 - POWERFUL & EFFECTIVE George Orwell's tale of a revolution betrayed is brought to the stage by the Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre from the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Georgia's most famous son was the model for the pig leader, Napoleon; former Soviet leader, Josef Stalin.
In this allegory, the animals of Manor Farm overthrow the rule of the tyrannical Farmer Jones and set up a new regime where all animals are equal under the new ideology of Animalism. However, to defend the revolution, the newly christened Animal Farm gradually cedes, without realising the consequences until it's too late, all power to Napoleon and his coterie of pigs.
Props and costumes are minimal in this production but that is not a problem. This performance is in the Georgian language with simultaneous English language surtitles displayed overhead. In practice this works well. Arguably, it allows for greater concentration. Through dance, movement, gestures and a cracking soundtrack we can soon work out who are the sheep, the pigs, the hens and the dogs in this effective piece of physical theatre.
Stalinism is dead and gone everywhere but in North Korea, but the temptation to trust a ruler who is 'always right' is still with us today. Animal Farm is great reminder of the truth of the words of the Psalmist who said, "Put not your trust in princes". (David Kerr - Counter Culture - 10/08/14)
BROADWAY BABY 10/08/14 - REMARKABLE & POIGNANT "the Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre Company present George Orwell's Animal Farm in a remarkable, poignant enactment of the dangerous rise of tyranny in a state where ideals of freedom and equality are distorted by figures of authority. A magnificent satirical performance of Orwell's masterpiece.
At Manor Farm, the animals are far from happy with the way Farmer Jones treats them. They decide to fight for a new social ideal named Animalism and revolt against the cruel sovereignty of humans. Their idealism wavers, however, as it becomes clear that although the pig leaders proclaim all animals equal, in reality some of the animals are more 'equal' than others.
The show, performed in Georgian, is doubly tense as it evokes the figure of Josef Stalin who, though unmentioned, looms like a spectre over the action. At first, being faced with a foreign language makes the audience feel acutely separate from the 'animals' onstage. But, as the action unfolds, we grow used to the surtitles and become caught up in the action, making it easy to forget the language barrier. We feel more and more akin to the animals, fitting the play's satirical intent, which likens human behaviour to that of animals.
The set and costuming are simple but effective. A stack of hay bales sets the scene and a list of the laws of Animalism hang as a backdrop. The laws stand as an ironic reminder of the political ideals the revolution was based on - these rules are modified or disregarded as the action unfolds. The twenty-two cast members are dressed in simple costumes that only suggest animals, but the animals emerge through the physicality of their performance and their impersonations of animal sounds.
The large cast size is an asset, as the ensemble perfectly embodies social chaos without being chaotic in itself. The many characters move around the stage in a skillfully choreographed fashion, symbolizing the play's consideration of the clock-work of society - how it functions until the nuts and bolts that keep it rolling are damaged or removed. The twenty-two strong cast also guarantees the powerful use of song in the performance - their unified voices, strong and confident at the beginning,dwindle as their unity falters.
The Tumanishivili Film Actors Theatre Company provides a magnificent satirical performance of Orwell's masterpiece. They put forward a thought-provoking enactment of the disheartening untenability of idealistic equality that's well worth your time and money." (Maria Hagan, Broadway Baby, 10/08/14)
THREE WEEKS 08/08/14 - BEAUTIFUL & GRASPING "the allegorical story of George Orwell's Animal Farm needs no telling, but the Edinburgh fringe production of it definitely needs seeing. This world premiere is performed by the prominent Georgian theatre company Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre in their native language (with English subtitles). Using Georgian music and dance elements, the large ensemble exhibit the various individual animal characters, emitting realistic sounds and stylised movements. Set against an almost bare stage containing just hay bales and a signpost, the production follows Orwell's original story closely. It's an especially relevant production for the company, given that Georgia was Joseph Stalin's birth country, and powerful music and performances culminate in a beautiful and grasping piece of physical theatre. (Keara Barnes - Three Week 08/08/14)
THE STAGE: 08/08/14 - A FANTASTIC PRODUCTION "Aproduction of Animal Farm at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is always going to attract a few audience members who didn't read past the title in the programme. But those who were initially a little surprised that this show, by the globally renowned Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre Company of Tbilisi, was going to be performed in Georgian soon realised that the fantastic production made it well worth reading the surtitles.
Shuffling onto stage in a muttering of moos, neighs and clucks the 25-strong cast are astonishingly good at portraying farm animals with a simple flap of an elbow or balled-up, hoof-like fist. And the fact that these humans pretending to be animals are singing about the fruity fields of England,' in Scotland, in Georgian, just adds to the surrealism of George Orwell's allegorical novel.
Joseph Stalin came from Georgia and so many of the problems encountered by the animals as they switch to Communism must have felt especially poignant to a cast who have lived through the consequences. Edinburgh powerhouse director Guy Masterson has wisely avoided making this link too explicit, though. The focus here is convincing and energetic performances from a cast who are clearly all on the same page. Don't let the surtitles put you off. (Lauren Paxman - The Stage 08/08/14)
PUNTERS REVIEWS - EDINBURGH 2014
Mike Boer 20/0814
A clucking baaaaaaad-ass show with moooooving performances about life on a faaaaaarm. The actors displayed eggstraordinary ability to bring the aaaaaanimals to life. Too baaaaaaaad it wasn't in a laaaaaaanguage I could understaaaaaaaaand!
Ross Fraser 19/0814
It is a pleasure to listen to the actors in this Georgian theatre company speaking Georgian (the production is surtitled). The ghost of the Soviet Union hangs over the stage like the shadow of a vulture. And the songs and mannerisms are so rich and subtle, I wonder how many of the cast found inspiration in the past antics of Georgian grandparents and relatives during the glory days of the regime in Moscow. The production is a richly layered presentation of Orwell's classic effortlessly compressed into an hour. Although the performances were somewhat uneven, many of the actors were outstanding (Squealer the party apologist, and Boxer the faithful plough horse especially come to mind). Worth seeing, even if you've read (or been forced in school to read) the famous book.
A Mcintosh 09/08/14
excellent show enjoyed it very much. although the actors are not actually dressed up as animals, I found that their animal mannerisms and acting made this a very poignant play and very true to animal farm. the subtitles are easy to follow and the actors singing and speaking in their native Georgian language for me added to my enjoyment of this play
xcellent adaptation. Dark, slightly scary and sinister at times, as it should be. I wouldn't recommend it for children under about 12, partly because of the dark tone and also the surtitles require the viewer to read fast at the same time as watching a wonderful physical performance. At first you think it will be impossible to watch and read, but you soon get used to it. Highly recommended.
Riveting performance, overflowing with energy.
Heather Quillish 03/08/14
Outstanding from beginning to end!
Urmita Kundu 03/08/14
A very innovative portrayal of George Orwell's book by a multi talented Georgian cast directed by Guy Masterson.
William Kennedy-Milne 02/08/14
Saw the first preview showing and it was superb. Very physical, great animal mannerisms and sounds you'd bet were some sort of backing track, but aren't. Orwell's story really comes to life and these splendid actors deliver a stunning performance! The subtitles are easy to follow, and the fact that the animals speak Georgian complements their otherness to humans. The Georgian harmonies of this large ensemble singing 'Beasts of England' etc. deliver a splendid musical side to this story I've never previously experienced. A real must see 'Amkhanagi' (Georgian for comrades)!
I was very impressed with this show. The animals were wonderful & I loved the way they moved. The fact that they didn`t speak in English was also very effective. The quality of the acting was first class & the songs added another dimension to the play. Well done!
I saw this play yesterday, and was very impressed. It was a brilliant show, and I really enjoyed it. I am deaf, and the captions were a godsend. They were displayed mid stage above the actors, and were so easy to follow, though sometimes they were a little fast! It's been a long time since I was able to enjoy a play at the Fringe. Well worth a visit.
GUY MASTERSON - Adaptor & Director (click for additional biographical material)
After obtaining a Joint Honours degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry from Cardiff University in 1982, Guy studied drama at UCLA's School of Drama and started as an actor in 1985 in Hollywood. He returned to the UK in 1989 to study further at LAMDA.
Following a conventional start in plays, film and television, Guy began solo performing in 1991 with The Boy's Own Story and thence Under Milk Wood in 1994 and Animal Farm in 1995. He first produced/directed in 1993 with Playing Burton and participated at the Edinburgh Festival for the first time in 1994. The following 23 seasons saw his association with some of Edinburgh's most celebrated hits (see company history) and his company became the Fringe's most awarded independent theatre producer - garnering 8 Scotsman Fringe Firsts, 3 Herald Angels, 25 Stage Award nominations (including 4 wins) together with numerous lesser awards. His 2010 production of Morecambe transferred to the West End and won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment plus another nomination for the actor playing Eric. In 2014, his epic production of Animal Farm the Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre of Tbilisi, Georgia, won the Stage Award for Best Ensemble.
As a performer, he was nominated for The Stage Award for Best Actor for A Soldier's Song (1998), Under Milk Wood in 2003, Shylock in 2011, and won in 2001 with Fern Hill & Other Dylan Thomas. He received Edinburgh's most prestigious accolade, The Jack Tinker Spirit of the Fringe Award, in 2003.At Edinburgh 2016 he created his first overtly stand-up comic piece, Barking Mad!
His theatrical commitments have largely kept him out of mainstream film and television, however, he has made the obligatory appearance on Casualty (Christmas Special 2004) and has been the Franziskaner Monk - the main character of a premium German beer - since 2007!
Other directorial credits include; Chopping Chillies, Absolution (2016) Cinderella, The Devil's Passion, Dylan Thomas: the Man, The Myth (2015), Sleeping Beauty,Animal Farm (full cast version 2014), The Odd Couple, Beauty And The Beast (2013) Female Gothic, A Soldiers Song, Imperial Fizz (2012) The Diaries of Adam & Eve (2011); Long Live The King, I, Elizabeth (2010); Morecambe, Austen's Women (2009); Reasonable Doubt, Scaramouche Jones (2008); The Eagle Dances, Follow Me, The Mistress (2007); Levelland (UK & OZ), Cooking With Puccini (2006); The Odd Couple, Swift (2005); Borge Again!, 12 Angry Men - Oz (2004); 12 Angry Men - UK (2003); Goering's Defence, A Slight Tilt To The Left (2002); Resolution, Mom, I'm Not A Lawyer (2001); All Words For Sex (2000); Adolf (1999); Hollywood Screams II (1998) Bye Bye Blackbird (1997); The House Of Correction (1996); Playing Burton (UK 1994, NZ 2002) The Private Ear & The Public Eye.
His passion is to bring great ideas to life and new talent to the stage. He is married to Brigitta and father to Indigo and Tallulah...
Ekaterine Andronikashvili - Hen
With TFAT since 1995; Leading roles: Mashiko - Died First, then Married; Forest Fairy; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Actress - Six Characters in Search of an Author.
Imeda Arabuli - Pincher & Horse
With TFAT since 2013; Leading roles: Character # - The National Anthem; John - The Last Supper; Narrator, Son - The Open Couple.
Mzia Arabuli - Cow
With TFAT since 1978; Leading roles: Shushaniki - Martyrdom of the Queen; Hippolyta - A Midsummer Night's Dream; Solo-Performance - What Created Me as a Human?; Mary Magdalene - The Last Supper; Bernarda Alba - The House of Bernarda Alba.
Ketevan Asatiani - Jessie & Sheep
With TFAT since 2005; Leading roles: Dunyasha - The Cherry Orchard; Pregnant woman - Point #0; Gwen - The Royal Family; Woman - Amore; Tinano - Seven Tiny Plays.
Tamara Bziava - Mollie & Sheep
With TFAT since 2013; Leading roles: Character # - The National Anthem; Esmeralda - Camino Real; Adela - The House of Bernarda Alba; Woman - A Man and a Woman; Dress - The Diary of a Dress.
Eka Chkheidze - Raisa
With TFAT since 1992; Leading roles: Hermia - A Midsummer Night's Dream; Prima Actress - Six Characters in Search of an Author; Charlotte - The Cherry Orchard; Wife - Seven Tiny Plays; Lane - The Clean House.
Nina Chkheidze - Sheep
With TFAT since 1985; Leading roles: Ekvirine - Bakula's Pigs; Dolly - Anna Karenina; Keto - Our Town; Prudencia - The House of Bernarda Alba.
Vano Dugladze - Snowball & Mr Whymper & Mr Frederick
With TFAT since 2013; Leading roles: Perry Steward - The Royal Family; Thief - The Underground.
Erekle Getsadze - Farmer & Dog & Horse
With TFAT since 2014; Dorian Gray - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Nino Nutsa Getsadze- Puppy
With TFAT since 2014;
Zurab Getsadze - BoxerActor
Stage director at the TFAT since 1992; Managing director since 2009; Directed performances: The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco (5 Stars The Scotsman, Edinburgh 2013); Seven Tiny Plays by Lahsa bughadze; The Police by Slawomir Mrozek etc.
Leading roles: Katsia - Bakula's Pigs; Philostrate - A Midsummer Night's Dream; Levin - Anna Karenina; Jason - Medeamaterial.
Irine Guinashvili - Muriel
With TFAT since 2013; Leading roles: Character # - The National Anthem; Monavardisa - Died First, Then Married; Maid - The Royal Family; Amelia - The House of Bernarda Alba.
Ana Maria Gurgenishvili - Sheep
With TFAT since 2014;
Nino Iashvili - Cow
With TFAT since 2014;
Darejan Jojua - Cow
With TFAT since 1978; Leading roles: Sonia Gedeevanidze - Bakula's Pigs; Loria - Dragon; Nino - Our Town; Poncia - The House of Bernarda Alba; Kitty Dean - The Royal Family.
Darejan Khachidze - Sheep
With TFAT since 1978; Leading roles: Sharlota - Don Juan; Gossip-monger - Bakula's Pigs; Nino Alavidze - Our Town; Makrine Jashi - Haraleti, Haraleti; Mother - The Avalanche; Ann - The Clean House.
Ioseb Khvedelidze - Moses
With TFAT since 2013; Leading roles: Monsignor Rat - Camino Real; Joe - The Royal Family; Osric - Hamlet; Leon - The Orchestra.
George Kipshidze - Napoleon
With TFAT since 2002; Leading roles: Mercutio - Romeo and Juliet; Shasha - Bakula's Pigs; Kilroy - Camino Real; Gogi - Seven Tiny Plays.
Nanuka Litanishvili - Dog/Sheep
With TFAT since 1992; Leading roles: Otosi - A Fool's Life; Fairy - A Midsummer Night
s Dream; Irina Arkadina - Let's Play The Seagull; Mary - The Bald Soprano; Tatiana - Seven Tiny Plays; Pamela - The Orchestra.
Ana Matuashvili - Cat & Sheep
With TFAT since 2012; Leading roles: Petra - An Enemy of the People; Woman - Yet Spring Will Come; Wife - The Underground; Tiger's mother - Knight and Tiger.
Tsotne Metonidze - Farmer Jones & Dog
With TFAT since 2012; Leading roles: Boy - Kakoia Gagnidze; Haraleti, Haraleti - Two of them Here and There; Demonstrator Icarus.
Teimuraz Natroshvili - Benjamin
With TFAT since 1992; Leading roles: Andria - Bakula's Pigs; -, Chachiashvili - The Bald Soprano; Father, Shalva - Seven Tiny Plays; Vladimir - Waiting for Godot.
Ana Nikolashvili - Clover
With TFAT since 2013; Leading roles: Character # - The National Anthem; Ophelia - Hamlet; Fly - Point #0; Magdalena - The House of Bernarda Alba.
Natia Parjanadze - Hen & Farmer
With TFAT since 2011; Leading roles: Mariane - Tartuffe; Martirio - The House of Bernarda Alba; Guest - Seven Tiny Plays; Susan - TheOrchestra.
Vano Tarkhnishvili - Squealer
With TFAT since 2000; Leading roles: Sergo - Died First, then Married, Mamuka - The Bald Soprano, Revolutionary - Bakula's Pigs; Character # -National Anthem; Grandson, Bidzina - Seven Tiny Plays.
Nikoloz Tserediani - Minimus
With TFAT since 1978; Leading roles: Tibalt - Romeo and Juliet; Peter - The Zoo Story; Sandro - Seven Tiny Plays; Angel - The Underground.
Ketevan Dolidze - Artistic Director & Producer Sophie Tortladze - General Manager Simon Machabeli - Designer of Set & Costumes Ana Murgulia - Sound Operator Sergo Kazarian - Light Operator Vladimir Sturua - Technical Manager Irma Goloshvili - Wardrobe Manager Guy Masterson - Adapter & Director Edinburgh Management - Theatre Tours International Zurab Gogorikidze - Props Manager Ararat Kazarian - Tech.Staff/Stage hand Khatuna Jamatashvili - Assistant to Director Tato Khachapuridze - Technical Assistanta
(These may be reproduced as necessary)
ANIMAL FARM: a fairy story... as Orwell himself described it, was conceived as a direct commentary on Josef Stalin's systematic abuse of the ideals of Communism. Yet, at first look, the allegory itself is rather British. The farm and its animals are obviously typically British and the fable has a distinctively British traditionalism, liberalism and decency in its essence... yet its message touches upon key elements of contemporary affairs and political anxieties all over the world.
Just after Animal Farm was published in 1945, post-war Britain elected the Atlee Labour government with its application of Welfare State legislation and was coming to terms with a new, weaker position in the world. Stalin was slowly being exposed as a ruthless dictator and, through Animal Farm, Orwell, a disillusioned Socialist himself, was merely attempting to persuade British liberals about Stalin's real nature. The events of the book were specifically arranged to mirror those evident in Stalin's betrayal of the Soviet peoples and can easily be shown to do so. More importantly, the book was also an indictment of the processes and dangers of power, and the methods and machinery that a modern state can bring to bear in its pursuit; the double-speak and propaganda, the lies, threats, coercion, corruption, oppression... the "sleaze" and the "spin", as its leaders fight to perpetuate themselves against the interests of those who they are supposed to serve. Thus, when Animal Farm is taught in schools simply as an allegory on the Russian Revolution - or more generally as "anti-communist" - it actually goes against what Orwell stood for.
Orwell shared a common hope that a social democratic revolution would be capable of transforming society into a "caring sharing nation", but he worried also that those who should benefit from such revolutions too often end up as the victims. Indeed he explained: "I meant the moral to be that revolutions only reflect a radical improvement when the masses are alert and know how to chuck out their leaders as soon as the latter have done their job..."
Perhaps the "revolution" that occurred in Britain over the last 60 years was one of consumerism and "entrepreneurial plenty" at the expense of those less able than others. And perhaps Orwell's message to us in Britain is that, even there, where we live in relative harmony, we must be alert to the dangers of the power seekers and the aware of the promises they spout to perpetuate their power. In Britain, with their adversarial system of government, the power-garnering can't happen in large "Napoleonic" doses, but in small spoonfuls, where each is made easier to swallow by the petty, sugary machinations of party politics... It's harder to detect but the end result can be the same.
I have performed by solo version of Animal Farm over 1000 times all over the world. I have deliberately included subtle references to local scandals and corruptions so that the narrative is made more topical. When presented with the opportunity to present the work in Georgia, the state that gave us, for its sins, Josef Stalin and Josef Beria, the two main inspirations behind the characters of Napoleon and Squealer, such parallels were not required. Georgia's membership of the former Soviet Union is relevant enough and its recent history since Glasnost has been notoriously turbulent. The people here know all about corruption. There is no need to add topical references.
The pairing of this particular story with this particular theatre company creates a very special energy. Powerful, potent and poignant. The shame of Stalin still rankles here and the fragility of its fledgling democracy - nestled uncomfortably between Europe and Putin's Russia - is always in evidence. Over here, they do not play Animal Farm, they live it. Guy Masterson
The importance of being earnest.....
Since 1988 we have come to Edinburgh... to the Assembly Rooms - now Assembly Festival - to William Burdett-Coutts, to this incredible, warm, friendly town, which became our home of pride, our Walk of Fame, introducing the best Georgian Theater, folk groups... and all thanks to Assembly! This friendship began with Mikhail Tumanishvili's great Don Juan, starring Zura Kipschidze, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, Temur Chkheidze's Othello and Antigone starring the incredible Otar Megvinetukhucesi, and Youn Doiashvili's King Lear...
Our country endured a hard, turbulent history... We are victims and witnesses of Stalin's regime, the fall of the Soviet Union... and civil wars provoked by the Empire... but we survived! life is grand again... But we always remember our past and we are careful!
Last October, we met the amazing Guy Masterson, who we'd invited to give his production of Shylock at our GIFT Festival, and our collaboration began. With his trust, with his excellence in the Arts and with his dedication, Tumanishvili Film Actor's Theater is now proud to present George Orwell's Animal Farm.
Together we remember, together we trust, together we worn, that most important in theater and in life is the importance to be earnest! Keti Dolidze - Artistic Director of Tumanishvili Theater and GIFT FestivalProducer of Animal Farm
SUMMARY OF THE STORY
1: Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2: Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings is a friend.
3: No animal shall wear clothes.
4: No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5: No animal shall drink alcohol.
6: No animal shall kill another animal.
7: All animals are equal.
The animals also agree that no animal shall ever enter the farmhouse, and that no animal shall have contact with humans. This commandments are summarised in the simple phrase: "Four legs good, two legs bad". After some time Jones comes back with some other men from the village to recapture the farm. The animals fight brave, and they manage to defend the farm. Snowball and Boxer receive medals of honour for defending the farm so bravely. Also Napoleon who had not fought at all takes a medal. This is the reason why the two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, often argue. When Snowball presents his idea to build a windmill, to produce electricity to the other animals, Napoleon calls nine strong dogs. The dogs drive Snowball from the farm, and Napoleon explains that Snowball was in fact co-operating with Mr Jones. He also explains that Snowball in reality never had a medal of honour, that Snowball was always trying to cover up that he was fighting at the side of Mr Jones. The animals then start building the windmill, and as time passes on the working-time goes up, whereas the food ration declined. Although the "common" animals have not enough food, the pigs grow fatter and fatter. They tell the other animals that they need more food, for they are managing the whole farm. Some time later the pigs explain to the other animals that they have to trade with the neighbour farms. The common animals are very upset, because after the revolution, there has been a resolution that no animal shall make trade with a human. But the pigs ensured that there never has been such a resolution, and that this was an evil lie of Snowball. Short after this decision the pigs move to the farm house. The other animals remember that there has been a commandment that forbids sleeping in beds, and so they go to the big barn to look at the commandments. When they arrive there they can't believe their eyes, the 4th commandment has been changed to: "No animal shall sleep in bed with sheets". And the other commandments were also changed: "No animal shall kill another animal without reason", or "No animal shall drink alcohol in excess". Some months there is a heavy storm which destroys the windmill, that is nearly finished. Napoleon accuses Snowball of destroying the mill, and he promises a reward to the animal who gets Snowball. The rebuilding of the mill takes two years. Again Jones attacks the farm, and although the animals defend it, the windmill is once again destroyed. The pigs decide to rebuild the mill again, and they cut down the food ration to a minimum. Some day Boxer breaks down. He is sold to a butcher, whereas Napoleon tells the pigs that Boxer has been brought to a hospital where he has died. Three years later the mill was finally completed. During this time Napoleon deepens the relations with the neighbour farm, and one day Napoleon even invites the owners of this farm for an inspection. They sit inside the farmhouse and celebrate the efficiency of his farm, where the animals work very hard with the minimum of food. During this celebration all the other animals meet at the window of the farm, and when they look inside they can't distinguish between man and animal.
The novel Animal Farm is a satire on the Russian revolution, and therefore full of symbolism. General Orwell associates certain real characters with the characters of the book. Here is a list of the characters and things and their meaning:
Mr Jones: Mr. Jones is Orwell's chief (or at least most obvious) villain in Animal Farm. Of course Napoleon is also the major villain, however much more indirectly. Orwell says that at one time Jones was actually a decent master to his animals. At this time the farm was thriving. But in recent years the farm had fallen on harder times and the opportunity was seen to revolt. The world-wide depression began in the United States when the stock market crashed in October of 1929. The depression spread throughout the world because American exports were so dependent on Europe. The U.S. was also a major contributor to the world market economy. Germany along with the rest of Europe was especially hit hard. The parallels between crop failure of the farm and the depression in the 1930's are clear. Only the leaders and the die-hard followers ate their fill during this time period. Mr. Jones symbolises (in addition to the evils of capitalism) Czar Nicholas II, the leader before Stalin (Napoleon). Jones represents the old government, the last of the Czars. Orwell suggests that Jones (Czar Nicholas II) was losing his "edge". In fact, he and his men had taken up the habit of drinking. Old Major reveals his feelings about Jones and his administration when he says, "Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough , he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving and the rest he keeps for himself". So Jones and the old government are successfully uprooted by the animals. Little do they know, history will repeat itself with Napoleon and the pigs.
Old Major: Old Major is the first major character described by Orwell in Animal Farm. This "pure-bred" of pigs is the kind, grand fatherly philosopher of change an obvious metaphor for Karl Marx. Old Major proposes a solution to the animals desperate plight under the Jones "administration" when he inspires a rebellion of sorts among the animals. Of course the actual time of the revolt is unsaid. It could be the next day or several generations down the road. But Old Major's philosophy is only an ideal. After his death, three days after the barn-yard speech, the socialism he professes is drastically altered when Napoleon and the other pigs begin to dominate. It's interesting that Orwell does not mention Napoleon or Snowball anytime during the great speech of old Major. This shows how distant and out-of-touch they really were; the ideals Old Major proclaimed seemed to not even have been considered when they were establishing their new government after the successful revolt. It almost seems as though the pigs fed off old Major's inspiration and then used it to benefit themselves (an interesting twist of capitalism) instead of following through on the old Major's honest proposal. This could be Orwell's attempt to dig Stalin, who many consider to be someone who totally ignored Marx's political and social theory. Using Old Major's seeming naivety, Orwell concludes that no society is perfect, no pure socialist civilisation can exist, and there is no way to escape the evil grasp of capitalism. (More on this in the Napoleon section.) Unfortunately when Napoleon and Squealer take over, old Major becomes more and more a distant fragment of the past in the minds of the farm animals.
Napoleon: Napoleon is Orwell's chief villain in Animal Farm. The name Napoleon is very coincidental since Napoleon, the dictator of France, was thought by many to be the Anti-Christ. Napoleon, the pig, is really the central character on the farm. Obviously a metaphor for Stalin, Comrade Napoleon represents the human frailties of any revolution. Orwell believed that although socialism is good as an ideal, it can never be successfully adopted due to uncontrollable sins of human nature. For example, although Napoleon seems at first to be a good leader, he is eventually overcome by greed and soon becomes power-hungry. Of course Stalin did too in Russia, leaving the original equality of socialism behind, giving himself all the power and living in luxury while the common peasant suffered. Thus, while his national and international status blossomed, the welfare of Russia remained unchanged. Orwell explains, "Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer--except, of course for the pigs and the dogs." The true side of Napoleon becomes evident after he slaughters so many animals for plotting against him. He even hires a pig to sample his food for him to make certain that no one is trying to poison him. Stalin, too, was a cruel dictator in Russia. After suspecting many people in his empire to be supporters of Trotsky (Orwell's Snowball), Stalin systematically murders many. At the end of the book, Napoleon doesn't even pretend to lead a socialist state. After renaming it a Republic and instituting his own version of the commandments and the Beasts of England, Comrade Napoleon quickly becomes more or less a dictator who of course has never even been elected by the animals.
Squealer: Squealer is an intriguing character in Orwell's Animal Farm. He's first described as a manipulator and persuader. Orwell narrates, "He could turn black into white." Many critics correlate Squealer with the Pravda, the Russian newspaper of the 1930's. Propaganda was a key to many publications, and since their was no television or radio, the newspaper was the primary source of media information. So the monopoly of the Pravda was seized by Stalin and his new Bolshevik regime. In Animal Farm, Squealer, like the newspaper, is the link between Napoleon and other animals. When Squealer masks an evil intention of the pigs, the intentions of the communists can be carried out with little resistance and without political disarray. Squealer is also thought by some to represent Goebbels, who was the minister of propaganda for Germany. This would seem inconsistent with Orwell's satire, however, which was supposed to metaphor characters in Russia.
Snowball: Orwell describes Snowball as a pig very similar to Napoleon at least in the early stages. Both pigs wanted a leadership position in the "new" economic and political system (which is actually counterdictory to the whole supposed system of equality). But as time goes on, both eventually realise that one of them will have to step down. Orwell says that the two were always arguing. "Snowball and Napoleon were by far the most active in the debates. But it was noticed that these two were never in agreement: whatever suggestion either of them made, the other could be counted to oppose it." Later, Orwell makes the case stronger. "These two disagreed at every point disagreement was possible." Soon the differences, like whether or not to build a windmill, become to great to deal with, so Napoleon decides that Snowball must be eliminated. It might seem that this was a spontaneous reaction, but a careful look tells otherwise. Napoleon was setting the stage for his own domination long before he really began "dishing it out" to Snowball. For example, he took the puppies away from their mothers in efforts to establish a private police force. These dogs would later be used to eliminate Snowball, his arch-rival. Snowball represents Leo Dawidowitsch Trotsky, the arch-rival of Stalin in Russia. The parallels between Trotsky and Snowball are uncanny. Trotsky too, was exiled, not from the farm, but to Mexico, where he spoke out against Stalin. Stalin was very weary of Trotsky, and feared that Trotsky supporters might try to assassinate him. The dictator of Russia tried hard to kill Trotsky, for the fear of losing leadership was very great in the crazy man's mind. Trotsky also believed in Communism, but he thought he could run Russia better than Stalin. Trotsky was murdered in Mexico by the Russian internal police, the NKVD-the pre-organisation of the KGB. Trotsky was found with a pick axe in his head at his villa in Mexico.
Boxer: The name Boxer is cleverly used by Orwell as a metaphor for the Boxer Rebellion in China in the early twentieth century. It was this rebellion which signalled the beginning of communism in red China. This communism, much like the distorted Stalin view of socialism, is still present today in the oppressive social government in China. Boxer and Clover are used by Orwell to represent the proletariat, or unskilled labour class in Russian society. This lower class is naturally drawn to Stalin (Napoleon) because it seems as though they will benefit most from his new system. Since Boxer and the other low animals are not accustomed to the "good life," they can't really compare Napoleon's government to the life they had before under the czars (Jones). Also, since usually the lowest class has the lowest intelligence, it is not difficult to persuade them into thinking they are getting a good deal. The proletariat is also quite good at convincing each other that communism is a good idea. Orwell supports this contention when he narrates, "Their most faithful disciples were the two carthorses, Boxer and Clover. Those two had great difficulty in thinking anything out for themselves, but having once accepted the pigs as their teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, and passed it on to the other animals by simple arguments." Later, the importance of the proletariat is shown when Boxer suddenly falls and there is suddenly a drastic decrease in work productivity. But still he is taken for granted by the pigs, who send him away in a glue truck. Truly Boxer is the biggest poster-child for gullibility.
Pigs: Orwell uses the pigs to surround and support Napoleon. They symbolise the communist party loyalists and the friends of Stalin, as well as perhaps the Duma, or Russian parliament. The pigs, unlike other animals, live in luxury and enjoy the benefits of the society they help to control. The inequality and true hypocrisy of communism is expressed here by Orwell, who criticised Marx's oversimplified view of a socialist, "utopian" society. Obviously George Orwell doesn't believe such a society can exist. Toward the end of the book, Orwell emphasises, "Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer except, of course, the pigs and the dogs."
Dogs: Orwell uses the dogs in his book, Animal Farm, to represent the KGB or perhaps more accurately, the bodyguards of Stalin. The dogs are the arch-defenders of Napoleon and the pigs, and although they don't speak, they are definitely a force the other animals have to contend with. Orwell almost speaks of the dogs as mindless robots, so dedicated to Napoleon that they can't really speak for themselves. This contention is supported as Orwell describes Napoleon's early and suspicious removal of six puppies from their mother. The reader is left in the dark for a while, but later is enlightened when Orwell describes the chase of Snowball. Napoleon uses his "secret dogs" for the first time here; before Snowball has a chance to stand up and give a counter-argument to Napoleon's disapproval of the windmill, the dogs viciously attack the pig, forcing him to flee, never to return again. Orwell narrates, "Silent and terrified, the animals crept back into the barn. In a moment the dogs came bounding back. At first no one had been able to imagine where these creatures came from, but the problem was soon solved: they were the puppies whom Napoleon had taken away from their mothers and reared privately. Though not yet full-grown, they were huge dogs, and as fierce-looking as wolves. They kept close to Napoleon. It was noticed that they wagged their tails to him in the same way as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr. Jones." The use of the dogs begins the evil use of force which helps Napoleon maintain power. Later, the dogs do even more dastardly things when they are instructed to kill the animals labelled "disloyal." Stalin, too, had his own special force of "helpers". Really there are followers loyal to any politician or government leader, but Stalin in particular needed a special police force to eliminate his opponents. This is how Trotsky was killed.
Mollie: Mollie is one of Orwell's minor characters, but she represents something very important. Mollie is one of the animal who is most opposed to the new government under Napoleon. She doesn't care much about the politics of the whole situation; she just wants to tie her hair with ribbons and eat sugar, things her social status won't allow. Many animals consider her a traitor when she is seen being petted by a human from a neighbouring farm. Soon Mollie is confronted by the "dedicated" animals, and she quietly leaves the farm. Mollie characterises the typical middle-class skilled worker who suffers from this new communism concept. No longer will she get her sugar (nice salary) because she is now just as low as the other animals, like Boxer and Clover. Orwell uses Mollie to characterise the people after any rebellion who aren't too receptive to new leaders and new economics. There are always those resistant to change. This continues to dispel the believe Orwell hated that basically all animals act the same. The naivety of Marxism is criticised socialism is not perfect and it doesn't work for everyone.
Moses: Moses is perhaps Orwell's most intriguing character in Animal Farm. This raven, first described as the "especial pet" of Mr. Jones, is the only animal who doesn't work. He's also the only character who doesn't listen to Old Major's speech of rebellion. Orwell narrates, "The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr. Jones's especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place.". Moses represents Orwell's view of the Church. To Orwell, the Church is just used as a tool by dictatorships to keep the working class of people hopeful and productive. Orwell uses Moses to criticize Marx's belief that the Church will just go away after the rebellion. Jones first used Moses to keep the animals working, and he was successful in many ways before the rebellion. The pigs had a real hard time getting rid of Moses, since the lies about Heaven they thought would only lead the animals away from the equality of socialism. But as the pigs led by Napoleon become more and more like Mr. Jones, Moses finds his place again. After being away for several years, he suddenly returns and picks up right where he left off. The pigs don't mind this time because the animals have already realised that the "equality" of the revolt is a farce. So Napoleon feeds Moses with beer, and the full-circle is complete. Orwell seems to offer a very cynical and harsh view of the Church. This proves that Animal Farm is not simply an anti-communist work meant to lead people into capitalism and Christianity. Really Orwell found loop-holes and much hypocrisy in both systems. It's interesting that recently in Russia the government has begun to allow and support religion again. It almost seems that like the pigs, the Kremlin officials of today are trying to keep their people motivated, not in the ideology of communism, but in the "old-fashioned" hope of an after-life.
Muriel: Muriel is a knowledgeable goat who reads the commandments for Clover. Muriel represents the minority of working class people who are educated enough to decide things for themselves and find critical and hypocritical problems with their leaders. Unfortunately for the other animals, Muriel is not charismatic or inspired enough to take action and oppose Napoleon and his pigs.
Benjamin: Old Benjamin, an elderly donkey, is one of Orwell's most elusive and intriguing characters on Animal Farm. He is described as rather unchanged since the rebellion. He still does his work the same way, never becoming too exited or too disappointed about anything that has passed. Benjamin explains, "Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey." Although there is no clear metaphoric relationship between Benjamin and Orwell's critique of communism, it makes sense that during any rebellion there or those who never totally embrace the revolution those so cynical they no longer look to their leaders for help. Benjamin symbolises the older generation, the critics of any new rebellion. Really this old donkey is the only animal who seems as though he couldn't care less about Napoleon and Animal Farm. It's almost as if he can see into the future, knowing that the revolt is only a temporary change, and will flop in the end. Benjamin is the only animal who doesn't seem to have expected anything positive from the revolution. He almost seems on a whole different maturity lever compared to the other animals. He is not sucked in by Napoleon's propaganda like the others. The only time he seems to care about the others at all is when Boxer is carried off in the glue truck. It's almost as if the old donkey finally comes out of his shell, his perfectly fitted demeanour, when he tries to warn the others of Boxer's fate. And the animals do try to rescue Boxer, but it's too late. Benjamin seems to be finally confronting Napoleon and revealing his knowledge of the pigs' hypocrisy, although before he had been completely independent. After the animals have forgotten Jones and their past lives, Benjamin still remembers everything. Orwell states, "Only old Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better or much worse hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life."
Rats & Rabbits: The rats and the rabbits, who are regarded as wild animals, somehow represent the socialist movement, the so-called "Menscheviki". In the very beginning of the book the animals vote if rats and rabbits should be comrades.
Pigeons: The pigeons symbolise Soviet propaganda, not to Russia, but to other countries, like Germany, England, France, and even the United States. Russia had created an iron curtain even before WWII. The Communist government raved about its achievements and its advanced technology, but it never allowed experts or scientists from outside the country to check on its validity. Orwell mentions the fact that the other farmers became suspicious and worried when their animals began to sing Beasts of England. Many Western governments have gone through a similar problem with their people in this century. There was a huge "Red Scare" in the United States in the 20's. In the 1950's in the United States, Joseph McCarthy was a legislative member of the government from Wisconsin. He accused hundreds of people of supporting the Communist regime, from famous actors in Hollywood to middle-class common people. The fear of communism became a phobia in America and anyone speaking out against the government was a suspect.
Farm buildings: The farm stands for the Kremlin. In the early days of the USSR there were sightseeing tours trough the Kremlin. Later it became the residence of Stalin.
Windmill: The Windmill for example stands for the Russian industry, that has been build up by the working-class (Clover...)
Mr Fredericks: Stands for Hitler. There also has been an arrangement and secret deals. (allusion to Fritz)
Foxwood Farm: Foxwood Farm is representing England. Mr Pilkington is the Prime-Minister.
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