by Arthur Miller
December 2, 3, 9 and 10, 2000
|Betty Parris||Dana Melashenko|
|Rev. Parris||Ryan Deal|
|Abigail Williams||Stephanie Binns|
|Susanna Wallcott||Lindsay Lombard|
|Ann Putnam||Cindy Gall|
|Thomas Putnam||Nate Kay|
|Mercy Lewis||Erica Sharp|
|Mary Warren||Ryan Lunsford|
|John Proctor||Adam Lombard|
|Rebecca Nurse||Andrea Wolfing|
|Giles Corey||Lorin Koch|
|Rev. Hale||Jeremiah Burt|
|Elizabeth Proctor||Betsy Harlan|
|Francis Nurse||Bradley Nelson|
|Ezekiel Cheever||Treye McKinney|
|John Willard||Joshua Reinbold|
|Judge Hathorne||Peter Schmidt|
|Deputy-Governor Danforth||Jim Bock|
|Sarah Good||Keri Donaldson|
Technical Director/Lighting Design
LuAnn Venden Herrell
Opening Night Gala Committee
Julie Lorren (chairperson)
In February 1950, an obscure American senator from Wisconsin announced, "I have here in my hand a list of 205 known to be members of the Communist party and who, nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department." With Joseph R. McCarthy's speech, a dark chapter of American politics acquired its leader and its name.
The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) became the breeding ground for a frenzied 'red scare' that would see thousands of Americans lose their jobs, suffering ruined careers because of blacklisting in their professions; many going to jail or into exile.
The reckless hunt for possible communist subversives in American society, without proof of guilt or adequate safeguards for defense, continued to be a problem during the 1950s.
The Crucible was first presented by Kermit Bloomgarden at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, on January 22, 1953. In 1955, Miller was called before HUAC and questioned about his links to the communist party. He was astonished when people he had known for many years walked past without a nod of recognition, having labeled him a "red" sympathizer.
That the play was not an immediate success should not have come as a great surprise. The parallels between the hunt for "reds under the beds," in 1950 and witches in 1692, was not lost on his audience. Writing in 1958, Miller recalls the initial response to his play:
I believe that on the night of its opening, a time when the gale from the Right was blowing at its fullest fury, it inspired a part of its audience with an unsettling fear and partisanship which deflected the sight of the real and inner theme, which ... was the handing over of conscience to another, be it woman, the state, or a terror, and the realization that with conscience goes the person, the soul immortal, and the "name." That there was not one mention of this process in any review, favorable or not, was the measure of my sense of defeat...
What happened in Massachusetts in 1692 was really quite simple. A group of teen-aged girls caused a brief revolution. In January they were ordinary girls, taking orders from adults, working very hard in their homes, listening to long sermons in church on Sundays and other days. By the spring of 1692 they held an enormous amount of power--even the power of life and death--over a large number of the adult citizens of Massachusetts. They had begun by accusing poor old women and slaves. But within a few weeks they were charging ministers, merchants, and other solid citizens. The girls probably had no plan, at least not at the beginning. Still, they were able to terrify tough old pioneer farmers. They were also able to use the power of the Massachusetts government to send innocent men and women to the gallows.
Although the story appears extreme and the beliefs bizarre Miller claims that his account of the Salem witch trials is tame compared to the actual court transcripts. What struck Miller as particularly frightening was the "unrelieved, straight-forward, and absolute dedication to evil displayed by the judges of these trials and the prosecutors." He goes on to say that he actually modified the trial dialogue, in order to make Danforth a "human being." In retrospect he felt he was "wrong in mitigating the evil of this man and the judges he represents."