Review: Parkland’s production of “The Crucible”
“The Crucible,” a story about betrayal, paranoia, and shame, will be running at Parkland theatre through Oct. 8.
The play is set in the late 1600s and features a group of young girls dancing in the forest being interpreted as witch-craft. As a trial sets way to discover the reality of the situation, members of the community get roped in with nothing more than simple accusations. The plot thickens as the audience discovers the truth, while witnessing the characters lie and manipulate each other.
The play was meant to parallel the 1950s and McCarthyism. During this time in American history, citizens feared communist infiltration of their society. This lead to a ‘witch-hunt’ where anyone believed to sympathize with communism was immediately an enemy of the American way of life. Accusation ran high as paranoia took grip of common sense and sympathy.
Mathew Green’s adaption of the play for Parkland’s theater was well done, as actors displayed a wide range of emotion and managed to build tension that spilled over into the audience.
The accents were varied as some actors had a light English accent while some had a northeastern accent and some had a modern Midwestern accent. It was a little distracting at times as the different accents would make it seem like the characters were from all over, instead of having grown up in the same place.
The interactions between the actors during the scenes made it easy to overlook the accents, however, as they would display emotions with subtle variance.
Two characters John Proctor and Reverend Hale, portrayed by Evan Seggebruch and Preston Roseborough respectively, had to jump back and forth between emotional displays as they learned more about the events. Both did this very well.
It was easy to believe that Proctor genuinely loved his wife and felt sorrows for his affairs. It was also easy believe Hale, who was initially skeptical of Proctor’s innocence, genuinely believed and cared for Proctor’s innocence.
Karen Huges, portraying Abigale Williams, also managed to present her two-faced character in believable ways. From previous scenes, the audience knew that Williams was lying about everything and seemed to only be interested in herself. During her performances in trying to fool the community, though, you’d have to remind yourself of what you had just seen a scene earlier. Her portrayal of the character made it easy to forget that she was lying.
The rest of actors managed to maintain a steady level of emotional display and consistency, as the plight around Proctor and Williams continued. This consistency made the performance captivating.
Costume design was modernized, which helped the audience know what kind of roles the characters portrayed in society. Relating to the characters and understanding their social status was easier because of this.
The lighting was okay. While it did help to emphasis some aspects of the performance, it mostly just kept things lit. There were a few times when an intimate dialogue would occur between two characters for a while, yet you could see the other actors standing and waiting for that part to be over.
It was distracting, but overall didn’t remove from the experience. The choice in lighting could also be an artifact of the seating, as the actors are all in the center of an audience that was sitting around them.
During the trial scene, some of the actors sat in seats that were placed right in line with seats for the audience. This gave the feeling of involvement as it felt like they were trying to say that the audience was a jury witnessing the testimony and would ultimately judge the characters’ decisions.
Overall, you could see the actors worked hard and had excellent directing. It is easy to get lost in the play and realize how the characters had traded their common sense for paranoia.
For more information on show times and ticket pricing, visit theatre.parkland.edu.