Ray Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451” was performed at California Baptist University’s Wallace Theatre Nov. 13, 14 and 19-21 with a host of technical innovations.
With so much technology used in the production, some audience members may not be aware of the work that takes place behind-the-scenes to arrive at the final performance dates.
Tianna Mason, junior theater major and assistant stage manager of “Fahrenheit 451,” worked on the production of the play, handling tasks from sweeping and mopping the stage floor, to getting the actors ready to perform.
“It’s super hectic,” Mason said. “It is a lot of work. You have to make sure everything is in its proper place and make sure everybody is in the right spot. It can be stressful at times, but when everything is in place ,it looks great.”
Mason explained why the play needed a lot of technology compared to other plays.
“The sound cues, the lighting and the visual effects are basically technology-driven,” Mason said. “The actors have to push and work hard so the technology is not the only thing that’s being seen, but there being seen and heard as well.”
Rene Jimenez, junior theater major, played Professor L.R. Faber in the play and described how stepping into a character can be difficult, but said he still manages to get into character.
“A 20-year-old junior playing a seventy-year old retired professor can be difficult at times,” Jimenez said. “What I do between scenes is slow down my mental and physical thoughts and I have to take a deep breath.”
Mandy Hyde, Wallace Theatre secretary, said “Fahrenheit 451” is different from other plays in the past such as “The Apple Tree.” She pointed out the additional innovations the Wallace Theatre is making for their performance of the play.
“We are using projection again,” Hyde said. “Projections are really starting to take off in all realms of theater. Even your big Broadway shows are using projection. We have a program that allows us to mask the picture around the set around it.”
Frank Mihelich, assistant professor of theatre, said there is a great deal of technology in the show.
“There are a lot of off stage voices that come in,” Mihelich said. “There are whole scenes where characters are dialoguing with somebody off-stage triggered at a certain moment.“
Mihelich chose to set the play in modern times, trying to show aspects that he thought author Ray Bradbury guessed about our current culture when he wrote the book in 1953.
“The fire fighters in our production look like a S.W.A.T team,” Mihelich said. “The idea is that fire fighters don’t protect anymore — they’re offense not defense.”