New York theater group comes to UW-W

Students can experience classic story ‘Fahrenheit 451’ adapted to play form:

By Lea Staedtler

 

Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451” has long been a classic read in many high school English classes. Set in a futuristic world where books are burning and firemen are the ones to set fires, Guy Montag challenges the government by reading books and ends up in exile.

Now, UW-Whitewater students get a chance to experience the story as a theater play.

Aquila Theatre Company, based in New York City, will perform its only show at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, in the Young Auditorium. Prices for the performance are $14.25 for students and $19.50, $25.50, or $29.50 for the general public.The general public prices are determined by seating choice.

Leslie LaMuro, marketing director of the Young Auditorium, said the play was chosen on purpose as part of The Big Read, a program to encourage reading of classical pieces on campus and in the community.

Twenty schools and libraries around the area participate in the program and put on events to raise awareness of classic literature.

The Young Auditorium brings a classic drama to campus every semester. Many freshmen English classes make it part of their curriculum to read the novel and attend the play.

LaMuro said she is excited to see the book adapted into play form.

LaMuro
LaMuro

“It is always interesting to see what parts (of the novel) stayed and what was cut,” LaMuro said.

Norman Murray, who plays main character Guy Montag, said Bradbury wrote the play as well, but there are some key differences between the book and the play. For example, Montag procrastinates a lot more in making his decisions.

Although the novel was written 60 years ago, LaMuro said it is still applicable today. It addresses a lot of timely themes, such as censorship, bullying and government control. She said she hopes it will be a “springboard for conversation” inside and outside the classroom.

Murray said he also sees important topics of discussions in the play.

“The story raises questions about drones that are very timely,” Murray said. “It really shows how you can push a button in your office and kill people thousands of miles away in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Murray said he encourages students to come because it relates to their lives in many ways. The main character is questioning his existence and life choices, something many students experience during their time at college.

“I’d also go to see where the future of our world is headed,” Murray said.

For Murray, it will be his first time performing at UW-Whitewater, but he has toured several other college campuses. He said he enjoys the atmosphere at universities.

“College students are there to study and observe, not just to enjoy the play,” Murray said.

LaMuro said students also are encouraged to attend Sound Bites one hour prior to the show. It will be held in the main lobby and gives students a chance to discuss the upcoming performance with members of the cast.

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