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Public record (July 29, 2014) -7/29/2014, 8:15 AM

Gerstner: I don't love 'Lucy,' but have seen worse -7/29/2014, 8:15 AM

Disaster training exercise scheduled for Kansas cities -7/28/2014, 12:32 PM

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Public record (July 14, 2014) -7/15/2014, 10:27 AM

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Public record (July 9, 2014) -7/8/2014, 10:28 AM

'Tammy' is every kind of bad -7/8/2014, 7:57 AM

Smaller number of men victims of domestic violence -7/7/2014, 8:44 AM

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Hope for today: Remember to mind your manners -7/4/2014, 9:28 AM

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Fourth of July fireworks safety tips -6/29/2014, 2:19 PM

FHSU alumnus and chapter of year recognized for service -6/29/2014, 2:19 PM

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Business Briefcase (June 29, 2014) -6/29/2014, 4:03 PM

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Pregnancy testing cow herd pays off in the long run -6/8/2014, 2:21 PM

Summer events scheduled at the Hays Recreation Center -6/1/2014, 11:14 AM

Overbey heading home to eastern Kansas -5/25/2014, 10:43 AM

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Elementary school movie reviews -5/20/2014, 8:47 AM

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Business Briefcase (May 11, 2014) -5/18/2014, 1:43 PM

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La Crosse woman completes beef training -5/4/2014, 2:41 PM

Business Briefcase (May 4, 2014) -5/4/2014, 2:40 PM

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D of I recognizes long-time members -5/2/2014, 8:39 AM

Agencies collaborate to explore Medicare basics -5/1/2014, 9:26 AM

Birthdays -5/1/2014, 9:26 AM

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Business Briefcase (April 27, 2014) -4/27/2014, 3:04 PM

'Transcendence' fails to connect elements -4/22/2014, 4:39 PM

Spring gallery walk schedule -4/21/2014, 4:37 PM

Parents can teach children skills for coping with stress -4/21/2014, 4:38 PM

Law enforcement works to further decrease fatalities -4/20/2014, 5:48 PM

Public record, April 18, 2014 -4/18/2014, 4:39 PM

Roadwork to begin in Phillips/Smith counties -4/18/2014, 4:45 PM

Public record, April 17, 2014 -4/17/2014, 4:39 PM

Public record, April 16, 2014 -4/16/2014, 4:39 PM

Enjoying high school memories -4/16/2014, 10:27 AM

Public record, April 15, 2014 -4/15/2014, 4:39 PM

New ponies, warmer weather welcome in spring -4/15/2014, 8:47 AM

Coping strategies, including healthy eating, can reduce stress -4/13/2014, 9:46 AM

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Many factors can cause stress in families, including divorce, death -4/4/2014, 9:23 AM

God brings life to dry bones -4/4/2014, 8:27 AM

Aging issues addressed in April Extension programs -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

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Power of vegetables and fruits -3/27/2014, 8:46 AM

A few more expensive pinot noirs, but ones well worth the cash -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Early start to morning leads to busy day for Eicher family -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

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Propane refill hits budget; hog butchering on tap -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

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The Church is called to reflect Jesus outside of church -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Extension workshop features estate planning -3/6/2014, 3:49 PM

Enhance employee wellness with Walk Kansas -3/5/2014, 3:49 PM

Change your clocks, smoke alarm batteries -3/4/2014, 3:49 PM

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KDOT announces approved February bids -3/3/2014, 4:28 PM

K-23 pavement replacement project to begin -3/3/2014, 4:19 PM

Celtic guitarist Barlow performing at library -3/2/2014, 4:10 PM

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SPOTLIGHT
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Bradbury's dystopian classic succeeds on Encore Series stage

Published on -10/31/2013, 9:44 AM

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The searing lines from "Fahrenheit 451" depict a fiery, dystopian world as imagined by Ray Bradbury in 1953. Tuesday night, the Aquila Theatre brought that world to the stage of the Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

The Encore Series show opened with lighting that cast creepy, nightmarish flames on shredded gauzy backdrops. Discordant music accompanied the firemen as they responded to an alarm, performing their book-burning duties in a world where reading books not only has fallen out of favor, but has become a crime.

"If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none," Capt. Beatty (James Lavender) tells fireman Guy Montag (Norman Murray) in a monologue that slices through their bizarre world with prophetic logic.

In this gripping speech, Captain Beatty points out that reading books hasn't always been a crime. However, the "tyranny of the majority" popularized anti-intellectualism, which eventually gave way to the practice of book-burning.

The Aquila cast was compelling, working through vast emotions, with ironic humor scattered throughout. As Montag, whose livelihood has been that of a book-burning fireman, develops a relationship with a strange young book-loving girl, he opens up to the world of ideas. Torn between the unfamiliar draw of literature and the reality show world of his wife, Mildred (Kali Hughes), Montag discovers unsettling truths. Sullen and shallow, Hughes sets an eerie tone as she portrays a woman too entrenched in her own ego to get a grip on reality.

"Fahrenheit 451" is powerful fiction that holds a mirror up to our world. There's drone technology in the story's electric hound that mercilessly pursues those who are thought to be a threat to the status quo. Although the electric hound never is actually seen in the stage production, his relentless presence pervades act two.

It was surreal to see the pages of Fahrenheit 451 brought to life on the stage, having first read the book as a teenager.

Throughout the years, I've found movies based on Bradbury's works have only dismally represented his lyrical prose. But the interactive nature of theater seemed a fitting vehicle for Bradbury, drawing the audience more deeply into the drama.

While I know "Fahrenheit 451" was hardly a walk in the park for many audience members, it's my hope it provoked a few uncomfortable moments of unintended thought.

Sometimes truth can best be viewed through fiction.

Dawne Leiker is a frequent contributor to The Hays Daily News.

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