Fahrenheit 451: Must Think DramaBy Laura & Mike Clark • May 14th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of Fahrenheit 451 performed by The Tapestry Theatre Company. [MP3 5:34 1.6MB]
Mike: Fahrenheit 451 is the classic science fiction tale by Ray Bradbury. It tells the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, whose job is to burn books because books are dangerous. They make people think and in the world of the future people won’t think. They will have tv sets the size of walls, they will have Bliss pills that will keep them happy so that they will not have to worry about thinking. In this society Guy starts to get discouraged by it and starts to do the ultimate sin: he starts to think. It’s a fascinatingly good story. You need to go see this show. It is very important. Especially for today’s America.
Laura: It was a good show. It was kind of slow paced so it seemed to drag on a little bit. I don’t know if the tempo was off or they were nervous tonight. There was something not quite right about it so made it go on and on and on.
Mike: The show did last forever it felt like. It was about two and a half hours long with the intermission. There were points where it just felt like it was dragging really slowly.
Laura: The main charcter was Guy Montag played by Anthony Van Eyck. He did a pretty good job with it. He showed a lot of emotion. He had a difficult role. He started out as a fireman who burned books because of their evilness. But then later he began to think, “Well maybe books aren’t so bad.” Finally the tables turned on him.
Mike: One of the ways Guy started to transition was through his next door neightbor, Clarisse, played by Jennifer Calhoun. She was the innocent girl, 17 years old who asked him tthe simple question, “Are you happy?” And that really got him to start thinking, which is dangerous. His wife doesn’t think. She just accepts what’s going on. The reality tv shows and the Bliss Pills that keep her happy. Clarisse and Guy’s interactions were well done. They spent a couple scenes together talking and walking, which is another no-no.
Laura: The fire captain, Captain Beatty, was played by Alex Bastani. He had a powerful, but complex role. In the one scene between he and Guy at the captain’s house showed that he actually had books. He had a whole library of books that he had never read.
Mike: Captain Beatty had several long monologues and dialogs with Guy Montag about the value of books and how we got to this point. He was proud of the fact tht he had not read the books so it wasn’t a crime. It’s only a crime to read the books and he made that point. Later they had a scene between Guy Montag, the captain, and Professor Faber played by Michael Fisher. The professor was talking to Guy through a microphone implanted in Guy’s ear. Captain Beatty started to debate with Guy Montag about different literary works and quotes. Professor Faber would feed the line to Guy. Several times all three actors would say the same lines at the same time. They were not in sync so it was really hard to understand the words. It would have been more effective if they could have gotten onto the same cue to start the quote at the same time.
Laura: I thought the audience was a little removed from the action up on stage. It would have ben nice if they could have somehow done it in a theater in the round style. That way everyone was closer together and it would have felt more involved with the action going on.
Mike: This show definitely calls for interaction with the audience to see what the characters are seeing. The fear that Guy felt at some times, the resove of some of the characters including Mis Hudson. It would have been great if the audience could feel that same fear or see the books thrown down on the ground as opposed to simply seeing it up on the stage 20 feet away. Seeing it rigght in front of you. Seeing the books being mistreated was actually quite powerful. On the back wall of the stage they had a video system set up that showed different news clips and tv shows that Mildred would watch during the day while he was at work. That was an interesting concept. She did talk about, “Wouldn’t that be cool if we had three tv walls?” She played her part really well. Mildred was played by Jacqueline Chase. There was a problem with some of the videos. They were a little bit staticy sound wise. Some of the lighting wasn’t too bright, but the point they were getting across was that of a newscast or a special news bulletin. That came across pretty well.
Laura: The scene changes were also awkward and hurt the pace of the show. The use of the set was good. Turning the walls around to show bookshelves was a very creative use of the stage.
Mike: Fahrenheit 451 is playing through May 28 at the Lee Center for the Arts in Alexandria, Virginia. I definitely recommend you go see this show. It will give you a lot to talk about with your family and friends about the value of books and the value of education and learning to think for yourself as opposed to being blindly accepting of what you hear on the news or elsewhere.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
Image copyright Micah Wright, Used by permission (pending)
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.