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Inside look: ‘The Crucible’

Video by Natalie Welber

By Ava Chenok and Natalie Welber

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Lights flicker as girls with lanterns creep in from the shadows, swaying and dancing. Then, the devil emerges and leads them in an ancient ritual. 

Whitman Drama’s haunting take on the play “The Crucible” will be presented in the auditorium Feb. 23-25 at 7 p.m.

Director Christopher Gerken adapted the production to focus on hatred and its place in society, a topic that opens Arthur Miller’s play.

“It basically says ‘everyone was now free to hate and exact vengeance upon their neighbor,’” Gerken said. “So that’s a powerful sentence and a powerful statement. Everybody at the beginning of the show comes from a point of hate, greed, selfishness and rage.”

These themes come to life in the play during the Salem Witch Trials, when people were constantly accusing other members of the Massachusetts community of witchcraft. In the production a group of young girls, families and priests are considering which accusations to believe, which drives the community toward manipulation in an intense power struggle.

Unlike many recent productions from Whitman Drama, this piece is set in the original time period, Massachusetts Bay Colony circa 1692, and is borrowed from the English curriculum.

It’s a really passionate piece, it’s a lot about characters getting power over one another and I think will be interesting to see that relationship play out on stage.

— senior Carly Choppin

“The play is read by Honors English 12 classes, so it’s one of the more accessible literary pieces for students as opposed to Arcadia, which was more at the college level,” producer Delaney Corcoran said.

The show also explores contemporary issues such as domestic abuse toward women. The production team decided to take the issue from the stage to the community by working with local organizations who support victims of domestic abuse.

“Drama Club is organizing a drive for items to bring to the Betty Ann Krahnke Domestic Abuse Center,” Corcoran said. “We’re also collecting donations at the door and having promotional ads available on hand for people who want to see them.”

In addition to the drive, the production team also worked out various time constraints, pulling together an intense show quickly and well, freshman performer Matthew Millin said.

“It was a very short rehearsal process compared with that of Jesus Christ Superstar,” Millin said. “There wasn’t as much time with this group of people, but they’re all very committed and work very hard.”

The cast members have focused on harnessing a passionate dynamic that they hope will contribute to a riveting show, senior Carly Choppin said.

“This show is really intense,” Choppin said. “It’s a really passionate piece, it’s a lot about characters getting power over one another and I think will be interesting to see that relationship play out on stage.”

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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School
Inside look: ‘The Crucible’