Theater Info for the Washington DC region

J.E.B. Stuart High School The Crucible

By • Nov 11th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

From a clandestine frolic in the woods to a cataclysmic witch hunt, the dramatic story of The Crucible played out at J.E.B. Stuart High School last weekend. The pious town of Salem erupted with plotting, false accusations, screaming, and fear as young girls cried witch on their neighbors.

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, recalled the tumult of the Salem witch trials of the seventeenth century. As a writer in the era of McCarthyism, Miller also established intriguing parallels with the terror of the Red Scare – the witch hunt for communists in the United States.

The play opened with a fascinating scene of the children dancing, which was somewhat unique to this production. Green and orange lights were nicely used to introduce the mood.

Despite hesitant lines from some characters, Alana Dreiman as Abigail Williams showed confidence and force in her character appropriate for the role. She successfully assumed control over the other girls and the minds of many townsmen. Although some blocking was present, Dreiman, followed by the girls, did well in creating an atmosphere of fear as they let loose chilling screams.

Rebecca Pearlstein, as Mary Warren, solidly conveyed a weepy character throughout the production. Her fearful interactions with Dreiman in the courtroom were especially attention-grabbing. However, the interactions of some other characters seemed to lack chemistry and conviction. Despite this, the character of Rebecca Nurse (Kendra Gaarder) effectively supported the play with her soft, but assured, demeanor.

The dancing at the beginning of The Crucible and the guitar-playing of Giles Corey (William Blackmore) in between scenes added some creative aspects to the production. The large stage could have been better utilized – the set was pushed up to the front and restricted some of the flow of the action, especially whenever most of the cast was on stage. At times, though, characters adapted well to the stage, even when an unexpected change occurred in the positioning of chairs.

The Crucible questions the validity of witch hunts of the past and present. J.E.B. Stuart did an admirable job of conveying the chaos and fear of such hunts, helping to bring the past to life.

by Christine McLean of Washington-Lee

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