In the society depicted in Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” books that make you think are banned, replaced by media that offers factual information that is not open to interpretation, and preferably, in as few words as possible. On Thursday evening, opening night for the Mt. Hope High School Masqueraders delivered an impressive performance that shared the stage credit among actors and technical crew.
“I was very nervous when I walked out, but the energy is really great,” said Victoria Ezikovich who plays Fire Captain Beatty in one of the lead roles.
If there were any opening night jitters, Victoria, along with the other actors and crew who brought Fahrenheit 451 to life gave no indication of them during opening night. Instead, the audience was treated to a performance that captured the essence of Bradbury’s vision.
“Four-fifty-one incorporated, the conscience of the world,” Victoria’s character said, describing the role of the fire department to fellow actors, Alex O’Hanley and Jane Carney who play Guy and Mildred Montag, a firefighter and his wife.
In a lengthy first act monologue, Victoria embodies societies’ disdain for literature, convincing the lower ranking Montag in the belief that “everyone is born equal, or crushed until they become equal.”
“Intellectual – that’s a swear word,” she tells the Montags.
The stage set was designed to portray a futuristic society whose comforts come from digitized voices and interaction with household appliances who greet occupants upon their arrival home. Snippets of information is valued, while thoughtful prose is shunned, leading to the fire department’s primary role of burning books that have been banned, allowing only those with “plenty of facts, but no meaning.”
The production was selected, said director, Carol Schlink, in part for its technical aspects which enhance the actors’ ability to tell the story. Technical and lighting director, Jillian Borgia, sound director, Kelsey Cabral, and special visual effects director, Lauren Cloutier, provide the futuristic feel of “Fahrenheit 451.”
While the original storyline takes place sometime in the future, the story’s relevance, given the media age and instantaneous messaging in our current society, allows the audience to relate to the characters in the play.
The show will run through Sunday. Both young and old will enjoy the futuristic drama and marvel at the techno-production of the stage crew.