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The Crucible

a Drama
by Arthur Miller

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 4800

SHOWING : October 10, 2015 - November 01, 2015



The time: 1692. The place: Salem, Massachusetts. The problem: Witches. What happened to the women of Salem? Or maybe the real question is, what happened to the people of Salem? What events could possibly lead an entire town to turn on their own? In its most ambitious production of the year, ASC is proud to bring Arthur Miller’s powerful tale of the Salem witch trials to The Tavern stage. "The Crucible" is one production not to be missed or forgotten.

Director Jeff Watkins
Rebecca Nurse Jane Bass
Martha Corey/Mrs. Putnam/Sarah Good Pat Bell
Francis Nurse Tony Brown
Abigail Rachel Frawley
Reverend John Hale Paul Hester
Hathorne Andrew Houchins
Giles Corey Doug Kaye
Mercy Lewis Kathryn Lawson
Mary Warren Amanda Lindsey
Cheever Vinnie Mascola
Susanna Sarah Beth Moseley
John Proctor Matt Nitchie
Betty Hayley Platt
Reverend Parris Drew Reeves
Elizabeth Proctor Mary Russell
Tituba Tetrianna Silas
Deputy Governor Danforth Troy Willis
Herrick Trey York
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Murky Dynamics
by playgoer
Friday, October 23, 2015
Arthur Miller’s script for "The Crucible" is acknowledged as a modern classic, although its setting in seventeenth century Salem, Massachusetts puts it closer to Shakespeare’s time than to modern times in terms of costumes and setting. As such, it’s a good fit for the New American Shakespeare Tavern, which uses rustic wood paneling as the background on its standard stage set-up. Anné Carole Butler’s costumes are somber Puritan styles that don’t differ markedly from those used in the company’s Shakespearean productions.

For this production, Mary Ruth Ralston has developed a lighting scheme that relies on dim illumination. This acts less to emphasize the dark aspects of the script than to obscure the action. When you add in iffy diction by major cast members, this results in a show that can neither be seen nor heard well enough to be fully appreciated. Director Jeffrey Watkins’ blocking doesn’t always help, with speaking characters sometimes obscured by actors downstage and sometimes directing their lines directly upstage. There are a lot of dynamics in the sound level of the acting, from low mumbles to shouted exchanges, but things at either end of the spectrum can’t always be understood.

There were times when Matt Nitchie (John Proctor), Rachel Frawley (Abigail), and Doug Kaye (Giles Corey) might as well have been speaking only every other word in English, since that’s all I could make out. There’s a great deal of acting going on, but a lot of the words are lost in the forcefulness of that emoting. The rest of the cast spoke understandably, with Troy Willis (Deputy Governor Danforth) and Paul Hester (Reverend John Hale) perfectly understandable throughout.

All that can be expected of a production is that it brings the playwright’s script to life. Here, the New American Shakespeare Tavern has done just that. It’s not a production that is remarkable for its unique insights or design, but it gets the story across. With such a strong story to tell, that’s enough. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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