The Crucible, Arthur Miller's well-known Colonial “witch hunt,” is being peformed this weekend at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood. Part history lesson, allegory, and warning, it opened Friday night with performances by a fine cast of talented actors from the community.
Indeed, which of your neighbors will be crying, "Witch?"
The Crucible provides a harrowing glimpse of the living nightmare of the 17th-century Salem Witch Trials (Walter Zimmerman plays Dep. Gov. John Danforth in this production by interACT Theatre Productions).
The play features a group of troubled girls -- Dora Kianovsky, Sally Jayne, Shona Roebuck, Holly Lehren, Elyssa Nielsen, and Shiva Kiania as the ringleader -- in Puritan Salem. Their accusations of witchcraft and devil-worship spiral out of control into mass trials and hangings in which every good citizen is soon pointing the finger at their neighbor and crying out for their blood.
“Unfortunately, the witch hunts are not isolated in the past,” said Director Nicholas J. Clarey of interACT Theatre Productions.
“In Arthur Miller's time, and still today, the witch hunters are alive and well in our culture," Clarey said. Whether rooting out alleged communists, hanging witches, dehumanizing homosexuals, condemning minorities, or fomenting resentment across racial lines, the story is the same; it is just the costumes that have changed."
A simmering adulterous triangle complicates the situation between community pillar John Proctor (Erik Gaden), his wounded wife Elizabeth Proctor (double-cast with Susan Holtz and Christine Gaden), and the calculating ringleader of the girls crying “witch,” Abigail Williams (Shiva Kiani).
Local neighbors in the cast keep it all in the family: Mother/daughter Sarah Rosen and Dora Kianovsky, and Father/daughter Dean and Elyssa Nielsen all have featured roles. Plus see Shona Roebuck, who runs theater programs at Morrow and will be director of interACT’s children production Charlotte’s Web. Meet the full cast @ InterACT.
Ian O'Connell may look familiar to fans of the daytime talk show Katie, where he works the lighting board. He plays Rev. Samuel Parris. Rounding out the talented cast: Shawn Kane (Rev. John Hale), Steve Gordon (Judge John Hathorne), Elizabeth Rogers (Sarah Good), Sabrina Santoro and Suz Stone (double-cast Ann Putnam), and Todd Spangler (Thomas Putnam).
Kate Daly plays the part of Rebecca Nurse. Racquel Bailey is Tituba. Also appearing: Allen Gershensen (Francis Nurse), Peter Curley (Ezekial Cheever), Alicia Fink (Sarah Osborne), and James Fine (Marshal Herrick).
Performances are Saturday, Oct. 13 (matinee and evening at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.); and Sunday matinee on Oct. 14 at 2 p.m.
The play will also run the following weekend, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19; Saturday, Oct. 20 (matinee at 2 p.m. and evening showing at 8 p.m.); and Sunday matinee, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students (w/ID) and seniors.
More information is available from interACT Theatre Productions @ http://www.interactproductions.org or (973)-544-8489. Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts is located at 10 Durand Road in Maplewood.