RAY BRADBURY PLAY SHUT DOWN
BY ALLEGED STATE OFFICIAL
by J. Neil Schulman, guest contributor.
[October 26, 2007]
A California "undercover investigator," identifying himself to this reporter
as "Agent Egan," entered the Fremont
Center Theatre at curtain time, 8 p.m., on October 20, 2007, and halted
the performance of Pulitzer Prize and National Medal of Arts author Ray
Bradbury’s play Dandelion
Bradbury was awaiting the
start of the performance with a theatre full of celeb guests including Empire
Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner.
The play, one of Bradbury’s
autobiographical works, includes performances by several young actors. When the announcement was made from the stage about the cancellation, thirty
minutes after the scheduled start time, reference was made to an obscure
California law requiring a State of California licensed teacher to be present
at all performances with young actors.
The company spokesman said
that they had never before been advised about such a requirement, and certainly
not at show time. The play’s director, Alan Neal Hubbs, later suggested
to this reporter that the play’s cancellation might have more to do with
Egan's finding an excuse to shut down the performance due to his previously
having been denied free tickets to the play.
After the cancellation announcement,
Bradbury, perhaps best known as the author of the science-fiction novel, Fahrenheit
451, in which a totalitarian government has outlawed all books and
sends firemen to burn them, spoke to the audience from his wheelchair about
his love for plays and movies. He invited everyone into the lobby, where he spent an hour commiserating with his guests and signing autographs.
When this reporter approached
Egan for a photo-interview to explain why he'd shut down the performance,
Egan threatened to confiscate this reporter’s camera on the claim that
he worked as an undercover police officer. When asked by this reporter
to produce a badge or other official identification, Egan refused.
Wine began performances at South Pasadena's Fremont Centre Theatre
on September 29th, and had been scheduled to run through November 11th. It is unclear as of this writing whether the remaining performances will
be allowed to proceed.
Copyright 2007 by J. Neil Schulman.
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