Unpacking Fahrenheit 451, Part Two (from 9/2/22)

In the Hippodrome production of Fahrenheit 451, I play a character named Alice Hudson. It’s a very exciting role to play, as Mrs. Hudson is a book lover, book owner and reader. Indeed, she has thousands of books that she loves as children or pets. Ultimately, she is discovered by the government and the fire men are sent to her home to burn her books. Her stand against the oppression of the government is stunning. She does not allow the fire men to set fire to her books. Instead, she has set kerosene in the house and tells the intruding fire men that she will set the fire herself. After threatening them with a lit match, she orders them out of her home, which she then ignites and dies with her beloved companion books rather than allow the fire men to touch her darlings. Her martyrdom reveals to Montag (the story’s protagonist) the power of civil disobedience, books, and ideas. Her final gesture before her death is to give Montag a gift- a book- that he will secretly keep and that will be a catalyst of his transformation. 

“Mrs Hudson’s willingness to die with her beloved books has emphasized the fact that Montag has nothing that he cares deeply about and that his job involves the destruction of people and their thoughts and ideas. He is now convinced that there must be something meaningful in books- meaningful enough to die for.” (From the website Like A Word Misplaced).

It’s a very powerful scene- one of those moments on stage an actor covets, quite honestly. The special effects at the Hippodrome were carefully crafted for their impact on the audience- both sight and sound. It’s a really amazing scene to perform. 

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