Godlight Theater’s Fahrenheit 451 offers hot ideas for the information age...the play, viscerally staged by the Godlight Theater Company from Mr. Bradbury’s own 1979 script, is full of such slashes of insight, ones that leave you marveling at the author’s prescience...there is no mistaking what novel you have walked into when you enter the theatre...a stage production of such a widely read novel could have earned a mere “interesting curiosity” stamp, but Mr. Tantalo and his actors seem determined not to let that happen...Gregory Konow’s performance and some downright scary lighting by Maruti Evans provide plenty of adrenaline, and food for thought.
Performing in the tiny Black Box theater at the 59E59 complex, the company creates a terrifying universe with a minimum of effects and a maximum of imagination...director Joe Tantalo has provided plenty of imaginative touches, from the quartet of ominous-looking firemen standing motionless as you enter the theater, to the simple yet effective sound and lighting effects that suggest the conflagrations in which the great works of philosophy and literature are incinerated.
...director Joe Tantalo crafts an exceptionally taut and thrilling production that maximizes Maruti Evans’s sleek design. Using top-notch lighting and sound effects and a solid ensemble of young actors, Tantalo evokes a science-fiction world not by resorting to high-tech toys, but by tickling the audience’s imagination. And imagination, finally, is what Bradbury’s all about.
The world that Joe Tantalo and Godlight Theatre Company have brought to riveting, awesome life in a new production that ranks among the most significant works of theatre currently on view in NYC...the great triumph of Tantalo’s work in this production is that he manages to make the culture of mass communication that we all think we can’t live without feel alien and unfamiliar even as its retro sci-fi trappings feel quaint...Tantalo’s staging-in the round, in the intimate Theater C at 59E59-is visceral, taut, immediate. Everything that happens is too close for comfort on Maruti Evans’s stark unit set. Evans’s masterful lighting effects and Andrew Recinos’s remarkable soundscape and score are supremely evocative; they frame each moment while providing us space to fill in the details that they can’t/won’t show us: our imaginations and intellects are put to work here, in sharp contrast with their arrested and numbed counterparts depicted in the play...Tantalo and his crew, like Bradbury’s hero, are fighting the good fight.
Joe Tantalo, who directed this New York premiere production of Fahrenheit 451, makes 59E59’s Theater C-which is roughly the size of a New York apartment’s living room-seem like the ideal performance space for this work. Maruti Evans’ lighting is central to the show...the effect of all this is both technologically savvy and timelessly ritualistic...more than 50 years later, as some people continue to fear free expression through art and literature, Fahrenheit 451 remains relevant and powerful.
...thumbs up to this New York premiere of Ray Bradbury’s 1979 dramatization of Fahrenheit 451...hypnotically staged in the round...Joe Tantalo’s gripping staging-including skillful choreography by Hachi Yu and Josh Renfree- makes for a worthy follow-up to Godlight’s acclaimed stage version of A Clockwork Orange. In this propless presentation, much credit goes to Maruti Evans’ lighting and Andrew Recinos’ cataclysmic sound effects, which combine to create a chilling ambience...the play paints a plausibly scary future so forcefully, you may find yourself running home to relish anew your dusty copies of Dickens and Austen.
The Godlight Theater Company has carved out a niche in the New York theater world: Producing difficult, resonant works that offer stealth commentary about the human condition...director Joe Tantalo has cunningly decided that we have already achieved Bradbury’s vision. The collusion of mass culture, technology and government control is manifest.
...director Joe Tantalo’s production makes a moving case that Bradbury’s masterwork is more relevant today than ever...so get your tickets while there’s still time.
...the play is totally gripping...impressively physical...this Fahrenheit 451 injects life into Bradbury’s long-ago warnings about the danger of forgetting the incalculable value of engaging our minds with books and instead allowing ourselves to be passively enthralled by ‘entertainments’ and politics that don’t ask us to think: that in fact actively discourage us from thinking, in order that those in power might have their way without us ever raising an objection, if we’re even aware that there’s something amiss.
The New York premiere by the Godlight Theatre Company is every bit as relevant and powerful today as when it was first put to paper 53 years ago…This production is first-rate as the company and director Joe Tantalo do a brilliant job…Fahrenheit 451 is one of the best dramas of the season and one which should be seen by every student of high school age and higher, as well as any adult who’s become content with simply getting their news from a 10-second televised sound bite.
Inspired…Set in the stark, industrial-chic of 59E59 Theaters, it’s a claustrophobic production of brash, scary lighting that’s punctured by plunges into darkness. Layers of muttering voices fill the background, along with the smell of smoke and burning. Godlight Theatre Company succeeds in portraying the bleakest of futures.
FOUR STARS! This is a powerful piece of thought provoking theatre.
FOUR STARS! An excellent production with some brilliant acting.
FOUR STARS! Very close to flawless.
FOUR STARS! The urgency of the script, which lurches from one disaster to another, is matched in this production by the lean, energised performances and deft, imaginative direction… an inspired production.
FOUR STARS! The dynamic combination of Maruti Evans’ lighting and Joe Tantalo’s staging fantastically convey the intellectual oppression of Fahrenheit’s world.
FOUR STARS! “An excellent production all round.
FOUR STARS! Returning to the Fringe following last year’s similarly visceral Clockwork Orange, New York’s Godlight presents an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s McCarthyism-baiting 1953 fable, Fahrenheit 451, that’s anything but a coast on that book’s iconic status…Under the direction of Joe Tantalo, the impressive, ten-strong cast mesh dialogue and movement into a highly dynamic and powerful critique.
FOUR STARS! A bold adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451… Such an epic tale could not be put in better hands than the Godlight Theatre Company…a brilliant show.