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Pine-Richland prepares for fall production of 'Fahrenheit 451'

| Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Pine-Richland High School senior Madison Engle and freshman Parker Schubert rehearse a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Pine-Richland High School senior Madison Engle and freshman Parker Schubert rehearse a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Pine-Richland High School senior Madison Engle and freshman Parker Schubert rehearse a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Pine-Richland High School senior Madison Engle and freshman Parker Schubert rehearse a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Pine-Richland High School senior Madison Engle rehearses a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Pine-Richland High School senior Madison Engle rehearses a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Freshman Parker Schubert rehearses a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Freshman Parker Schubert rehearses a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Pine-Richland High School freshman McKenzie Dille, junior Skyla Bruno and freshman Mia Ginocchi rehearse a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”
Pine-Richland High School freshman McKenzie Dille, junior Skyla Bruno and freshman Mia Ginocchi rehearse a scene for the upcoming fall play production of “Fahrenheit 451.”

Audiences will be treated to some technical magic thanks to some new equipment being used in Pine-Richland High School's fall play this year.

The high school's International Thespian Society is putting on “Fahrenheit 451” Nov. 19-21.

Director and high school English teacher John Dolphin said each year he chooses a play that has some connection to the school's curriculum or issues that are applicable to high school students.

“Fahrenheit 451” is a dystopian play, written by Ray Bradbury, that takes audiences to a futuristic American city where books are outlawed and a firefighter's main duty is to burn books and punish those who read them. Bradbury also wrote the classic book by the same name, which most sophomores in Pine-Richland read as part of the English curriculum.

“And I like to have something that has some punch to it,” Dolphin said, adding that this play certainly provides that.

The mostly student-run show, which has a cast of 25 and crew of 35, is led by stage managers Kristin Martin, a junior, and Aman Sohail, a sophomore.

Together the pair ensures that the show runs smoothly.

The large crew is needed to run the show's many technical effects, Sohail said, including a new piece of equipment acquired for this year's production. Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund gave the International Thespian Society a grant for $3,821 to purchase a specialty projector and “gobo” light fixtures that rotate still images for special effects.

The gobos will be used this year to produce the illusion of fire on stage and other special effects throughout the show, Sohail said.

Freshman Parker Schubert plays Montag, the play's reluctant protagonist. The show follows firefighter Montag as he goes from obedient government servant to becoming more open-minded as he begins to read the books he is supposed to burn.

When he found out he'd landed the lead role in his first high school theater production, Parker was a bit nervous.

“I didn't know if I should be happy or stressed,” he said. “But it's been OK.”

The contrast to Montag's serious and contemplative character is his wife, Mildred or “Millie,” played by junior Janda van Dyk. This is also van Dyk's first high school theater production, although she has a long history in theater and drama.

She said she moved to Pine-Richland from Pretoria, South Africa as a freshman. With her acting teacher mother as inspiration, van Dyk said she began acting in third grade and participated in drama competitions in South Africa before moving.

She's excited to play the shallow and childish Millie in her first show, van Dyk said.

Millie is obsessed with a popular reality TV show and overly interested in her own self-image, van Dyk said. She represents the empty society in which the play takes place and in some ways resembles current society, she said.

“There's definitely a lesson to be learned,” van Dyk said. “You can really relate to it. With technology and the fast-paced life we live… seeing this play will really open your eyes to not let that happen. Millie really reflects life today.”

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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