The UAlbany Performing Arts Center and New York State Writers Institute are pleased to collaborate to present multiple events in honor of the 70th anniversary of the publishing of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Taking place in October and spanning the disciplines of literature, theatre, and film, the celebration includes movie screenings, a stage play, and complimentary book giveaways.
Bradbury’s work of science fiction imagined a future where all books are outlawed, and “firemen” toss hidden tomes into bonfires. The author’s vision of a world, awash in information but lacking critical thought, depicts a sobering look at humankind while offering hope for a better future. The history and return to the practice of banning books and our current censorious moment make the subject matter of this classic American novel both timely and ripe for discussion. Bradbury himself was quoted as saying, “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”
Kicking things off and taking place at Page Hall on the downtown University at Albany campus will be screenings of both film adaptations of the book. Offered on consecutive Fridays, each showing is free with no reservations being required. The first 25 attendees at each of the following will receive a complimentary copy of the novel.
1966 version – Friday, October 13, 2023 at 7pm
Directed by François Truffaut and starring Julie Christie, Oskar Werner and Cyril Cusack, this British dystopian drama film was Truffaut’s first color film and his only non-French language film. It was nominated for the Golden Lion, the highest prize, at the 27th Venice International Film Festival. The film is in color and runs 105 minutes. It is not rated.
2018 version – Friday, October 20, 2023 at 7pm
Directed and co-written by Ramin Bahrani and starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, this American dystopian drama film premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival with praise for the performances and visuals. The film is in color and runs 100 minutes. It is rated TV-14.
The following week there will be multiple performances of the Literature to Life stage adaptation of the book. The public performance will take place on Thursday, October 26, 2023 at 7:30pm at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown University at Albany campus. Adapted and directed by the late Wynn Handman, this verbatim stage production is performed by Rich Orlow who tells the story from the perspective of the protagonist and seamlessly transitions between the five other primary characters.
Formerly the American Place Theatre’s flagship educational program, Literature to Life’s history is rich and varied with a consistent commitment to nurturing the talents of American authors, playwrights and actors. With a mission to inspire young people to read and become authors of their own lives, the company offers professionally staged theatrical adaptations of significant American literary works. Other Literature to Life works that have previously graced the UAlbany Performing Arts Center stage include: Sherman Alexie’s Flight, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, Frank McCourt’s Teacher Man, Jeanette Walls’s The Glass Castle, Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Lemon Anderson’s County of Kings, Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk and Kao Kalia Yang’s The Latehomecomer.
Orlow is an Emmy nominated and Golden Earphone Award winning actor and voice over artist. He has appeared off-Broadway and regionally as Joe Clay in Day of Wine and Roses, Mr. Lockhart in The Seafarer, Gus in The Dumb Waiter, Eddie in Hurlyburly and many others. He has also voiced countless commercials, narration, animation, video games and recorded books and has been featured in numerous television shows and films. Orlow has served as a dialect coach for off-Broadway productions.
Preceding the public performance, there will be a pre-show talk beginning at 7pm led by master Literature to Life teaching artist Fabian Saucedo. Saucedo will also moderate a post-show discussion between the artist and the audience.
Advance tickets for the public performance are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff. Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $20 for the general public and $15 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff. Individual tickets can be purchased on the UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s site at www.albany.edu/pac. The first 50 ticket purchasers will receive a complimentary copy of the novel given to them on the evening of the performance.
In addition to the public performance, there will be three matinee performances at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center for high school student groups from October 25-27, 2023. Currently these performances are at capacity. Educators and home school parents are invited to sign up for the wait list by contacting the UAlbany Performing Arts Center at (518) 442-5738 or email@example.com.
All of these events are offered with major support from the University at Albany Foundation. Additional support is provided by University Auxiliary Services and the Alumni Association. Complimentary books are limited to one copy per person.