Center Stage Series presents Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451'

Luther College presents a theatrical performance of one of the most revered novels of the 20th century, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21.

The "Fahrenheit 451" performance in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall is part of Luther College's 2013-14 Center Stage Series of professional performing arts events. Tickets for the performance are available online at www.tickets.luther.edu.

A discussion with the performing company to give insight into the evening's performance of "Fahrenheit 451" will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall before the performance. The discussion is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Originally a novel published in 1953, "Fahrenheit 451" has seen several adaptations, including a film of the same name in 1966. The version performed for the Center Stage Series performance was adapted for the stage 1979 by Bradbury himself.

"Fahrenheit 451" tells the story of Guy Montag, a fireman living in a dystopian future whose job requires him to set fires to destroy outlawed books in the name of entertainment and human happiness. Because of society's abandonment of knowledge and embracing of easy fun through mass media and drugs, people have become numb, despondent and unthinking, and Montag is instrumental in continuing this trend.

Through his meeting with Clarisse McClellan, an idealistic and subversive young woman, Montag begins to question his role in society and what is being lost in not only abridging and editing books to fit a fast-paced, modern life, but destroying anything that resists conformity.

Since its release, "Fahrenheit 451" has been one of the most widely discussed and contested novels in America. Containing important cautionary messages about banning and destroying books and knowledge, it has ironically been banned and censored on a number of occasions.

"Fahrenheit 451" will be performed by Aquila Theatre, a New York-based acting company known for creating innovative productions of literature with dramatic acting and creative and simple staging.

"The international cast beautifully delved into this work with a flowing and almost fiery motion," says Keith Tittermany of the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The New Yorker has also praised the company's performance for their "superb acting and clever staging."

In anticipation of the performance, a city- wide read of the book is being promoted by Decorah Public Library, Luther's Preus Library, Dragonfly Books, Decorah Community Schools and Luther's Lifelong Learners. Luther invites the community to "Be a part of the Art!" by heading to Dragonfly Books, Decorah High School or Preus Library, and writing down what piece of art, music or literature they might commit to memory so it would not be lost. The full mural will be on display the night of the Center Stage performance at Luther's Center for Faith and Life.

Tickets for the performance are $27 for adults, $25 for seniors age 65 and over and $15 for youth ages 4-18. They can be purchased at Luther's ticket website, www.tickets.luther.edu, by calling the Ticket Office at (563) 387-1357, or by visiting the Luther Ticket Office, open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-10:30 a.m. and 11a.m.-3 p.m.; and Tuesday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

The performance is preceded by an accompanying dinner at 5:30 p.m. in Peace Dining Room on the second floor of the Dahl Centennial Union. Dinner tickets are $17 per person with an accompanying Center Stage Series performance ticket or $19 for the dinner alone. Purchase tickets online at www.tickets.luther.edu.