BHS Insight

Fahrenheit 451, “Powerful” and “Relevant”

Liisa Aalto, Staff Writer

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The Barnstable High School Drama Club (BHSDC) will be performing Fahrenheit 451 as one of its fall plays. It is based on the classic science fiction novel written by Ray Bradbury in the early 1950s. The futuristic story describes a time when technology is used for instant entertainment, people no longer read, and books are banned to enforce governmental control.
The main character, Guy Montag, is a fireman who loved his job of burning books and was content with the dystopian society until he met Clarisse. The play focuses on “Montag discovering the real world through Clarisse and eventually literature,” said junior Sam Hurwitz, the assistant director and the actress that plays Clarisse.
The BHSDC chose to perform Fahrenheit 451 due to its similarities to our society, especially in regards to technology.
“The play is probably more relevant to our lives today than when it was written,” said director Jeffrey Billard.
According to Billard, the play’s message was also needed six years ago when they first performed it. They chose to do Fahrenheit 451 again this year because its need was amplified through our current obsession with technology and our political situation.
“Art examines life,” said Billard, “theater needs to make you think, make you look at your own life and make you think about what’s important to you.”
“This show is powerful, it’s relevant,” said Hurwitz.
The adaptation retains the underlying messages of the story while also bringing it to life.
For the first time ever at Barnstable High School, the play will be done as black box theater rather than the proscenium-style theater that they have always done. In black box theater, the audience shares the stage with the actors, they are seated around the performance area.
This style of theater makes the experience very “immersive” and “intimate” for the audience, according to Billard.
“You are talking to people around people. There’s power to be had with direct eye contact,” said Hurwitz.
This creates new challenges for the Drama Club to overcome. Junior Carrissa Malaspino, one of the sound managers, explained that some changes they’ll have to implement include being on stage and having to set up their own speakers on stage to give the effect of surround sound.
According to Malaspino, it completely changes the whole dynamic with trying to create the same effect of surround sound because they are trying to achieve a “very ‘I’m there’ experience.”
Tickets are $10 and it is limited to 100 seats per night. Billard recommends pre-ordering them at bhsdc.com. You can see BHSDC perform Fahrenheit 451 on Nov. 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17 at 7 p.m and Nov. 10 and 12 at 2 p.m.

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Fahrenheit 451, “Powerful” and “Relevant”