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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bad Example Debuts With ‘Fahrenheit 451’

Alchemist Theatre hosts new theater company

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Summer is an excellent time for newer theater companies in Milwaukee. Bite Theatre, Optimist Theatre and The World’s Stage all have produced shows in June. And now, on Thursday, July 8, another new theater company will debut with a daring production at the Alchemist Theatre.

Bad Example Productions introduces itself with a stage adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451. The production uses a script adapted years ago by the author, who turns 90 in August. Bringing the acclaimed dystopian novel to the stage is a risky move for a young theater company. A weighty drama about intellectual freedom struggling against oppressive government isn’t exactly feel-good, summery fare. In the interest of drawing a larger audience, there might have been a desire to stage the production with a unique angle that would make it more appealing. Thankfully, Bad Example’s David Kaye respects the source material.

Male lead Jeremy Eineichner is best known for his comedy work with the M.U.T.E.S. and the enduring holiday show Rudolph the Pissed-Off Reindeer, but it was Eineichner’s unnerving performance as Renfield in a production of Dracula that got him the role of Guy Montag. The “fireman,” who holds a government job burning books, is a long way from Sam the Snowman in Rudolph. Eineichner admits to being intimidated by the idea of playing what he refers to as “one of the most intensely real characters in modern literature.”

The cast features a number of other untested actors who likely felt a similar fear going into rehearsals. “I think it was that very fear that drove us forward,” Eineichner says. “I know it was in my case.”


By now, though, it sounds like Kaye has allayed most of those fears. “He opens us up to things about these characters and this story that none of us had ever known, ever even considered,” Eineichner says. “Quite frankly, I'm not sure anyone else could be pulling off this show as amazingly as he is.”

Bad Example’s Fahrenheit 451 runs July 8-24 at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View.

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