Repressed desires, festering grudges and a few kids looking for power and attention. A dangerous mix in any century, J.E.B. Stuart's recent production of “The Crucible” brought to life the consequences of such a situation and took them to their frightening conclusion.
Set against the backdrop of Puritan 17th Century Massachusetts, “The Crucible” tells the story of the Salem witch trials, in which, at the instigation of a few young girls, hundreds of men and women were executed in an attempt to rid the town of the devil. Written by Arthur Miller during the Red Scare, the play conveys the danger of suspending justice in search of security, and the importance of involvement in the greater community.
As the girl who brings the witch hunt down on Salem, Alana Dreiman gave Abigail Williams an eerie life, effectively portraying the girl's spite and desperation. Emma Earnest's Elizabeth Proctor proved an equal match to Dreiman's Abigail, clearly communicating Elizabeth's underlying turmoil and her growth in understanding as the play continues. In addition, Raymond Hurley as Reverend Hale gave a successful performance, showing his character's transition from self-assurance to identity-crisis.
Rebecca Pearlstein shone as Mary Warren, the conflicted and timid girl who almost brings down the tyrannical Abigail. Her magnetic portrayal at times stole attention from other characters, however she generally matched the ensemble's mood effectively.
Although some scene changes were overly visible, the musical interludes, composed by Katie Runnerstrom and William Blackmore, framed scenes nicely and provided the play with a tense and meditative atmosphere. Despite some abrupt transitions and dark spots, the lighting design by John Feick proved generally adequate, and at times accentuated the actors' performances by creating beautiful sunrises.
Despite a few mistakes and mishaps, J.E.B. Stuart's The Crucible provided audiences with a thought-provoking yet entertaining night.
• Maria Raffaele is a student at Washington-Lee High School and a member of the Cappies Critics and Awards program.