“The Crucible” – from the perspective of a member of the audience.

On March 28th, 2017, posted in: Academic, Culture, Drama, English, Featured, Major Production, News by

Poster The CrucibleIf you have not yet obtained your tickets for The Crucible directed by Lindsay Wills and assisted by Alex Wilson, make your way to the Aileen Currie Hall as a priority.  Those of us in the audience last night were treated to some rare theatre and comments as we left the auditorium ranged from “one of the best school productions I have ever seen” to “chilling” to “going to find it difficult to sleep tonight…”

While the play has a strong cast, and Wills’s direction of the young accusers in the witch-hunt is at once sympathetic and chilling, the play’s success is to a large extent dependent on the strength of John and Elizabeth Proctor.  The performances by Juliet Stromin (Elizabeth) and Ewin Lenders (John Proctor) is one that reduces audiences to tears.  Both of these young actors gave nuanced performances way beyond their years. As one experienced Senior English teacher said, “it is so easy to destroy the immense power of the final minutes of the play by overacting. And these young actors just didn’t!”

From the start of the play to the end, the attention of the audience is arrested: with gorgeous use of sound and light, imaginatively inspired construction of set and set changes, there are moments in the play when it seems choreographed. And this lends immense power to the production. While there is little doubt that within a conservative community there are political and social forces that reminiscent of the “mind-forg’d manacles” alluded to in Blake’s London, most critically, there was also the sense that as culpable young women in these trials, much of what they experienced was outside of their control. Wills’s handling of these scenes is inspired, as were the performances of Abigail (played by Bella Draper) and her friends.

This is a magnificent production. Wills takes us on a journey that is unsettling and leaves us thinking long after we have left the auditorium.

Pat Orpen