Students Stage The Crucible for Milton’s Winter Production
by Adrian Hackney on Friday, February 24th, 2017
Many of us know about the infamous Salem Witch Trials that took place in Massachusetts. These trials exhibit not only unjustified executions but also internal conflicts, daunting odds, and valiant struggles that Playwright Arthur Miller conveys in the world of The Crucible. With the guidance of Darlene Anastas, The Crucible’s director, Milton Academy’s cast breathed life into the drama on Friday, February 10th and Saturday, February 11th. Each participant was enthusiastic and passionate, filling the Ruth King Theatre with energy. The zealous cast members and ingenious set created many highlights and an overall memorable production.
The Crucible follows main characters John Proctor, played by Nick Gistis (II), and his wife Elizabeth Proctor, played by Charlotte Moremen (III), along with their servant Abigail Williams, played by Anne Bailey (I). The play paints a slightly dramatized picture of the Salem Witch Trials and the varying experiences of those impacted. Throughout the play, the actors were challenged to convey the rollercoaster of emotions that their characters experienced during the trials. From times of despair to moments of humor, the actors communicated changing emotions and tones with conviction.
The Crucible grapples with the moral struggle between lying and self-preservation. The actors expressed the emotional toll of this internal conflict through their authentic performances. Many members found a balance between the script and their personal touches to better embody their characters. Cast members’ bonding behind the scenes also generated a vibrant spirit onstage. This connection stood out to many cast members, such as Anne Bailey, who noted that it was one of the production’s highlights. The cast’s energy brought the spark necessary for a convincing and captivating performance.
The set stood out as another crucial aspect of The Crucible’s success. Shane Fuller, the mind behind the set, struck an admirable balance between simplicity and complexity. The historical context of The Crucible accentuated the importance of Puritan-like simplicity in the play’s setting. While the set stayed true to this theme, it also employed multiple levels to bring more sophistication and depth into the scenes. The different levels of the structural setting provided clarity while engaging the audience with another layer of complexity.
In addition, the set allowed the actors to fluidly move, accentuating the drama of the play, as props were rarely a distraction from the plot. The set provided thematic depth since different physical levels of the stage often translated to differences in power. For example, the placement of a prison on the lowest level in one scene demonstrated the helplessness of those inside. The Crucible’s set adeptly blended historical context with other thoughtful details for an intriguing end product.
The Crucible held many highlights for both cast members and audience members. Many, such as Charlotte Moremen and Evan Jenness (III), admired the “set’s unique and inventive layout.” Grace Vainisi (III) enjoyed the “genuine and convincing acting,” while Kate Jones (III) appreciated the costumes. The last scene, a conversation between John and Elizabeth, struck many for the contrast between its weight and humor. Evan Jenness, the stage manager, described The Crucible as “eye-opening and surprising.” He praised its ability to bring a new story and set of experiences to light through a gripping plot that shined a spotlight on the oppression many endured.
I applaud The Crucible’s actors for the passion and talent they brought to the production. The cast shared a potent yet entertaining story that many appreciated. Congratulations to the cast and crew for your successful show!
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