By: Scotty Morgan
The Crucible is a 1953 American playwright written by Arthur Miller, an American playwright, essayist, and prominent figure in the twentieth-century American theater. It depicts the partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place during 1692 and 1693.
The SFCC drama department is performing this riveting tale and production is going great according to director Josephine Keefe.
“It’s Arthur Miller so it is very dense text and a lot of subtext,” said Keefe. “Our dramaturgical work is also exploring the history of the play, so everyone is learning a lot.”
One thing the drama department has learned is that the play is not entirely fictionalized. Arthur Miller started The Crucible with a “Note on Historical Accuracy” which informs viewers that not all information is historically accurate. He did not want the people who were attempting to learn the history of the Salem Witch Trials to read his play and assume it to be a true representation of events.
“Historically it was about twenty people who were put to death, innocent people considered to be witches or sorcerers,” Keefe said. “Arthur Miller used that historical point in America’s history as an allegory for what he was experiencing during the house of un-american activities committee in the 1950’s. This was the big witch hunt for communists in the country and Arthur Miller was accused of being at one point.”
The drama department is taking a slightly different approach to set design compared to other performances in the past.
“To come in and look at the set we have, and see our process can be a little confusing based off our scenic design, it’s not in the world of the play.” Keefe said. “It is more of a surrealistic, expressionistic approach to the story.”
With The Crucible taking place in the 1600’s, one of the most difficult tasks was how to bring that era to life on stage in the Spartan Theater.
“As a director it was a little hard to get attached to The Crucible when it is so period like. I was often asking how do i relate to the storyline when it took place hundreds of years ago?” said Keefe. “The way we were able to get around that was having a candid discussion with where do we see witch hunts happening today? Minorities are still being told what’s wrong and so with looking at that that’s how we were able to find that line of past and present.”
The Crucible performances start May 26-29 and June 2-5, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm in the Spartan Theater. There is no charge for SFCC students and a suggested $10 ticket donation at the door for Non-SFCC students.