The Gertrude C. Ford Center hosted the Aquila Theatre cast of “Fahrenheit 451” Saturday for a dinner and discussion with students and friends of the Ford Center.
Ten Provost Scholar students were given the opportunity to come to the event, along with many theater major undergraduates and performers.
“We feel that the Provost Scholars and the students of the Residential Colleges are students who might be looking for something a little bit additional in their university experience here, so we offered this to them,” said Norman Eastbrook, director of the Ford Center.
Eastbrook stressed that he hoped any student interested would attend any and all events to come.
The event was open to anyone, but as a limited number of seats were available, many Provost Scholars were excited to have a guaranteed seat.
The small and personal Studio Theatre held the eight actors and nearly 40 spectators who came to the event. The cast sat before the crowd and ate while answering questions from the audience. Most of the onlookers were theater majors who had much to gain from the experience.
“I think it’s really nice having a theater company that is professional and experienced come through here,” said Jade Genga, senior musical theater and psychology major. “It’s a first hand perspective of what the business is like right now. It’s like a snapshot and we get this instant image of ‘Okay this is what I’m going into.’ And they’re really awesome; they’re really great people to talk to.”
The cast and crew were a lively bunch, laughing and joking with each other while still answering questions with a poignant sincerity.
Though the discussion lasted for less than an hour, the topics covered ranged from the background and staging in “Fahrenheit 451” and the companion show, “The Twelfth Hour,” to what life was like for them traveling from show to show since September. Students asked questions about characterization process and discussed the differences between auditioning in America and England, where five of the eight originated. The company was welcoming and open to the audience, helping it to laugh and to learn at the same time.
After the event much of the audience had to go back to the stage to perform in “Hairspray,” which ended its exhibition last night. However, for those who did not have to leave, there was an opportunity to speak with the cast and crew individually. Here they were able to answer much more personally and got to introduce themselves to a multitude of budding performers.
This evening at 7, the Ford Center will host the performance of “Fahrenheit 451.” Tickets are available through the UM Box Office at the Student Union.
The event was one of many that will be held in the coming year. The Ford Center will post upcoming events on an app for iPhone and Android as well as a Facebook page.
– Clara Turnage