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Aquila Theatre’s board has just made the difficult decision to suspend all future touring of the company. Ticket holders will be contacted by the CCA staff re: refunds.
Do you understand now why books are hated and feared? Because they reveal the pores on the face of life. The comfortable people want only the faces of the full moon, wax, faces without pores, hairless, expressionless. — Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
To read Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 right now, at this fraught moment, is a chilling experience. It is almost hard to fathom that the author so eerily and accurately predicted a dystopian world of censorship, anti-intellectualism and mass media gone awry.
The plot centers around a fireman named Guy Montag, whose job is to burn forbidden books and the houses of those who dare to retain them. In this oppressive society, science, thought, logic and intellectualism are considered public threats. Consequently, in their place, mindless entertainment transmitted through “seashell” earpieces and giant television “parlor walls” anesthetizes the uncultured and unenlightened populace. Ultimately, Montag flees the city (where everyone else is killed by bombs) and becomes the leader of a small community of survivors dedicated to memorizing books. The book ends with a quote from The Book of Revelations: “And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Despite its grim portrayal of this cruel, ignorant society, the novel offers a final message of hope in the wisdom that history, books and art can provide.
Aquila Theatre’s Desiree Sanchez will use Bradbury’s own stage adaptation in a new production of Fahrenheit 451 that will deftly articulate just how pressing and prescient this cautionary tale is. Aquila’s productions are “beautifully spoken, dramatically revealing and crystalline in effect,” says The New Yorker, and their upcoming production of Fahrenheit 451 will offer audiences the opportunity to examine this timeless commentary on the indispensable and fragile nature of history and learning.
Aquila Theatre Company was founded in London by Peter Meineck in 1991 with a production of Aeschylus’s Agamemnon at the Bridge Lane Theatre in London before touring in the United States to a few universities. The company, along with its founder moved to the United States in 1994, and in 1998, Aquila Theatre became a U.S. based non-profit theatre company. It went on to build up an extensive international touring circuit while becoming an established part of the New York City theater scene with its productions of Iliad: Book One at the Clark Studio at Lincoln Center, followed by long running Off-Broadway productions of Comedy of Errors and Much Ado About Nothing. Aquila has also had the pleasure of working with the acclaimed Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich in its 2004 production of Agamemnon.
Aquila is now one of the foremost producers of classical theater in the United States visiting 50 – 60 American cities per year with a program of two plays, workshops and educational programming, and is under the Artistic Directorship of Desiree Sanchez since 2012. The company has been awarded numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, from which it received a Chairman’s Special Award, the New York State Councils for the Arts and Humanities, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Aquila has performed at the White House under the Bush and Obama administrations, and has performed for the U.S Supreme Court and for the National Council on the Arts. Aquila was also recently invited by Lin-Manuel Miranda to perform at the U.S. Capitol in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, for its groundbreaking theatre and humanities program: The Warrior Chorus.