"The Crucible" Play Review

Essay by varad745College, UndergraduateA-, December 2008

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The Crucible combines many emotions into one dramatic event that sparks many different reactions from the audience. No matter when it was produced, it can seem as pertinent as ever. Somewhere, the principles expressed in The Crucible are taking place. One person's faith is another person’s fear. Arthur Miller's chilling description of the Salem witch trials displays the barbaric human nature during this time. By no coincidence, at the time of the initial writing of the play, the McCarthy led anticommunist inquisition that led to blacklisting in the 1950’s was taking place.

The Crucible concerns the town of Salem where girls dancing in the woods were found by the minister, and a minor incrimination of witchcraft had everyone suspecting the minister’s neighbor of an evil lifestyle. Nothing in Puritan Massachusetts could be a larger crime than witchcraft. Out of fear, the girls start accusing certain citizens of witchcraft. The Puritans’ hysteria leads to fast, unaffectionate executions.

This production at The People’s Light and Theatre is very traditional, with Pilgrim style costumes, rough wooden platforms, and iron kitchen accessories. Adding to this traditional effect was the use of a proscenium theatre. The play itself is exceptional, powerful, and an unsettling compliment to Arthur Miller’s everlasting tragedy.

The play is very long, running about three hours. The passionate, declarative script has a depressing repetition at times. The characters (primarily the girls) play around questions of morality and truth, while the rest of the characters are not joking whatsoever. The director has kept this production very simple and straightforward, not straying far from the original work.

There was tremendous emotion enacted in this play. There was screaming, yelling, and confrontation. This helped greatly to address and tame the ridiculous charges of witchcraft. The actors all made a spectacle of themselves. Seeing overly dramatic people emotionalize is what theater is all about.

The casting of roles was done very well. Every actor seemed to be genuinely made for his or her respective role. A standout was the actor Peter DeLaurier as John Proctor. His stage presence commands attention at all times. His acting abilities allow the audience to be collected during the mayhem of the play. Viewers may be agitated by not understanding how people thought in the late 1600’s. However, the character of John Proctor was a great connection to a modern audience.

The Crucible was a very professional piece of theatre. It had an excellent cast, design, and production execution. Every character played their role well with care and emotion. More importantly, however, they “fit” into their role as well. There was a feeling that made this play have a little bit extra to make it a very memorable show.

BibliographySommer, Elyse. “The Crucible.” CurtainUp. 2002. 10 September 2008.

http://www.curtainup.com/crucible.htmlMyers, Cathleen. “The Crucible.” Peers. 2005. 10 September 2008.