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Georgetown Preparatory School Fahrenheit 451

By • Feb 1st, 2012 • Category: Cappies

Aristotle, Bronte, and Tolkien are names that are synonymous with classic literature; so why are books by these very authors being collected and burned to a sweltering 451 degrees? When did owning a book become a grim death sentence? Both these questions and more are answered in Georgetown Preparatory School’s enthralling production of Fahrenheit 451, a poignantly captivating play that blurs the line between good and evil.

This riveting drama, penned by Ray Bradbury and based on his 1953 novel of the same name, was written in the midst of the Cold War and touches upon topics that Bradbury found troubling during the McCarthy Era, such as censorship and political misconduct. Set in a futuristic, dystopian society, Fahrenheit 451 follows the tumultuous life of Guy Montag, a fireman whose sole duty is to find books and burn them. When an innocent old woman dies after refusing to give up her books, Montag has a personal crisis. Facing pressures from his drug-addicted wife Mildred and his maniacal boss Captain Beatty, Montag slowly unravels as he begins to question his profession, and the role he has in the corrupt society he lives in.

Georgetown Preparatory School’s gifted cast sustained a fresh, strong energy throughout the performance that added intensity and fervor to scenes of high tension. The entire 12-person cast maintained a commendable understanding of their emotionally layered roles, and strong stage-presences aided this powerfully stimulating show.

Javee Bascon led this gripping narrative as the dynamic protagonist, Guy Montag. Bascon excellently embodied his self-doubting character and gave a touching portrait of deep inner struggle. Bascon believably depicted a painfully unhappy man, struggling with an oppressive government and his various suppressed desires. Bascon found a fitting balance between softness and vehemence that illustrated his distressed emotional state, and he convincingly matured by the end of the play.

A large group of skilled supporting actors reinforced the level of talent throughout the show. A prime example is Michael Brown, who was first-rate as the diabolical Captain Beatty. Brown tactfully executed his fierce monologues with depth and fury, and his many passionate moments were complemented by his commanding demeanor. Matching Brown’s superb characterization was Madeline Lee, as Mildred, the morose, pill-popping wife of Guy Montag. Lee’s subtly restrained take on Mildred gave an exciting spin on the role that Bradbury wrote to personify the theme of ignorance in society.

The complex set was a marvel in its own. The scenic designers (Adam Bacigalupo, Nicholas Guthrie, Nick Ramirez) created a visually stunning, industrial-looking space that featured enormous stacks of books piled high to the ceiling, a cozy living-room setting, and television screens that flickered ominously with codes and images that enhanced the foreboding vibe of the show. The orchestra pit was cleverly utilized as well, and became the stage for smaller, more intimate scenes. The intricate nature of the sets stood out and allowed for an authentic dystopian atmosphere, ultimately compensating for occasional performance lulls.

Georgetown Preparatory School successfully managed to carry the weight of an emotionally heavy show like Fahrenheit 451 with ease, and created a fragile, disjointed world that pertinently begs the question, “Are you happy?”

by Julian Sanchez of Westfield High School

Photo Gallery

Heather Strauss and Javee Bascon Madeline Lee
Heather Strauss and Javee Bascon
Madeline Lee
Michael Brown and Javee Bascon Colin Larsen
Michael Brown and Javee Bascon
Colin Larsen
Michael Brown, Liam Wedderburn, and Aaron Okello
Michael Brown, Liam Wedderburn, and Aaron Okello

Photos by Carmelita Watkinson

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