May 23, 2024

Alexandra Demontano | Banner Kiana Miskel (right), senior theater major, rehearses her lines during a rehearsal of “Fahrenheight 451” next to Spensor Deardorff, senior history and theater double major.

Students, faulty and staff of California Baptist University are invited to the Wallace Theater starting Nov. 13 to see the cast of “Fahrenheit 451” perform the last production of the semester.

Kiana Miskel, senior theater major, said she does not worry about facing the audience as she fine-tunes her performance before the start of the show.

“Technically it is very ambitious and probably one of the most challenging (productions) that we’ve put together,” Miskel said. “It’s a really important story in our day and age and in our culture because we’ve set the show in a parallel universe.”

When the actors began their final week of dress rehearsals, they also enter into their tech week, where the show’s special effects finally come to life.

“It’s difficult to be in a show that is so heavily dependent on technical aspects because it is live and if something goes wrong, you can’t really stop and fix it,” Miskel said. “You have to just keep going. We still have to be focusing on technical aspects while also not letting the performance go down because we’re worried about how the sound is and how the lights are.”

Miskel said she enjoys the community that is built between the members of the production.

“I love how small it is. We are all willing to help each other grow as actors and in our spiritual journeys,” Miskel said. “When you come in as a class, you grow together as a class and you get to know everyone individually.”

Before rehearsal, actors circle up in the center of their work space to pray, led by Frank Mihelich, “Fahrenheit 451” director and assistant professor of theatre. One by one, the group said their prayers asking for guidance and blessings during their performance.

While many have stated the play may have higher production values in the technical aspects of the show, Mihelich noted the production still carries an important message for the audience.

“I try to pick plays that will entertain our audience as well as provoke,” Mihelich said. “‘Fahrenheit 451’ does all of that. Many times you go to a play and then you forget about it afterward. I don’t think the audience is going to be able to forget about this one.”

Mihelich explained the unlikely choice in genre that influenced the direction of the play, adding unexpected choices in technical direction.

“I’m really excited that we get to do a thriller,” Mihelich said. “Thrillers are not depicted on stage very often.”

The director explained that the play, based on the 1953 book  by Ray Bradbury, teased reality television and paranoia within the media.

“A lot of it is underscored like a thriller movie,” Miskel said. “It’s like nothing we have ever done before, but that’s what makes it exciting, to do something that this audience has never seen before.”

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