Dramahawks produce a fiery winter play

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Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” has long stood to be a pinnacle of controversial, groundbreaking storytelling, and, in modern times, has only skyrocketed in relevancy. This February, the Hayfield Dramahawks are telling the dystopian tale of a society in which books have been outlawed in their play under the same name and authorship as the original 1953 novel.
Over the past years, the Dramahawks have covered a wide variety of styles and concepts in their play production; however, this year’s selection is expected to be especially influential and moving.

“We chose to do this show to draw attention to the current climate of intellectual discourse pertaining to modern media,” theatre teacher Patrick Mitchell said. “This is a different show for us in that we are exploring some different dramatic and creative avenues we have not crossed before.”

Audition interest was high due to the many different opportunities plays offer as opposed to musicals, as well as the name recognizability of the work.
“The play stays fairly true to the book, but you don’t get to see the fire or the hound when you are reading,” junior Kathryn Shepherd said. “Also, as someone who has read the book, seeing people portray the characters so well adds a new element. You can now see Clarisse’s innocence and you have a deeper understanding of how malicious Beatty is or the character development of Montag.”

In other ways as well, the show process has proved to be especially unique.
“The rehearsal process is different because it’s a smaller cast than the musicals. Also only a few scenes require more than five people at a time, so I [have been having a great time as I] get to watch and experience more of the play from an audience point of view,” Shepherd said.
With the Dramahawks being known for their production of numerous musicals per season, the winter plays provide especially intriguing opportunities for many. This is freshman Elle Rasmussen’s first Hayfield show, and with a lead role as Clarisse, she expects the process to be especially educational.

“I’m really excited to get to know everyone in the show, and to get to do what I love doing: acting,” Rasmussen said. “I think what makes this experience so great is coming into this show and having so many experienced actors who know what they’re doing and can really help me get better.”

“Fahrenheit 451” features themes and messages that are quite mature for high schoolers, however, the Dramahawks are taking on the task with characteristic professionalism despite conceptual difficulty.

“In one of the scenes I am a part of, an emotion provoking poem is read to which my character has to cry. However, the poem has old language in it, so I have had to analyze the internal meaning of the poem so I can appropriately react,” junior Jacqui DeBruler said. “A theme I have come across is that society should not solely focus on artificial things like entertainment shown on TV.  The burning of the books, I think, shows how society has grown to ignore the classics.”

In addition to providing many opportunities for new actors, the production brings great challenge for a team of student technicians.
“The show has a lot of moving parts, unlike ‘Rent’ which was a mostly stationary set. Getting everything to flow well [in a play] is a fun challenge. Fahrenheit has presented exciting new set pieces like an onstage fire pole and a seven foot [long] murderous robot hound,” junior Claire Hackney said.

With great professionalism onstage and intense dedication backstage, the classic characters leapt off the page with remarkable dynamics, making the story even more engaging, thereby heightening the reach of the especially relevant themes of the piece. “Fahrenheit 451” ran Feb. 8-10 at 7 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. Feb. 10 matinee.
“It’s important to tell this story because [it teaches that] with an age of full technology, we miss out of real life interactions and [often wrongly leave] past behind. If you get on thing from this play, it [should be to] take the time to put the phone down and have a conversation about what is happening with you, your friend or the world and how can you make it better,” sophomore Brynn Spradlin said.

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