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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Around Town: The Crucible at Wyoming High School

The Wyoming High School Theatre Arts Department produced The Crucible for huge audiences on November 9-10. Over 30 Wyoming students were involved, directed by Linda Baker and Laura Coomer. The Crucible is a standard of American theater, and a popular play for high schools, but many don’t know the history behind the play. 

The cast and crew of The Crucible amazed audiences with their fierce portrayals. 
Modern playwright Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible in the early 1950s. The play is a historical dramatization of the infamous Salem witch trials which took place in 1692-1693. However, by setting The Crucible during the hysteria of the frenzied witch trials, Miller was also characterizing the current political climate of fear that was happening in the United States – The Red Scare, or the McCarthy Era. Senator Joseph McCarthy, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities, antagonized hundreds of Americans suspected of having communist ideals – they questioned and scrutinized government officials, artists, activists, and many others suspected of communist or liberal leaning ideas. The play premiered in New York City in 1953 and won the Tony Award for Best Play that season.

Act two brought the story to the meeting house with nearly the full cast on stage. 
In The Crucible, by delving into the real biographical stories behind those accused and their accusers, Miller offers a deeper understanding of 1690s New England, yet audience members can clearly make parallels with more current American events. The play begins after the Minister of Salem, Reverend Parris, catches his daughter, Betty, and his niece, Abigail, dancing in the forest with the other young girls. To avoid getting into trouble, these girls begin to accuse the other girls of witchcraft. The play centers around John and Elizabeth Proctor, and their household, which formerly employed Abigail. John’s character can see through the hysteria and motivation of the young girls, yet he is a deeply flawed protagonist, one that many say has parallels with Arthur Miller himself. As the entire town of Salem, Massachusetts falls into hysteria, those who are accused and refuse to confess to witchcraft are hanged.  

Thank you, Wyoming, for producing such a deep and thought-provoking production that inspired many readers, performers, and spectators. 

In the final scene, John Proctor (Sam Steed) is faced with falsely confessing to witchcraft to save his own life, or staying true to himself in the eyes of God, yet knowing he will be hung. 

The seniors of The Crucible – they just finished their first show of their senior year.

Sarah, Suzanne, and Sophia played three of the young girls accused of witchcraft. 

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