ACT Theatre’s 2017 season will close with Arthur Miller’s powerful and timely classic, The Crucible. It’s Broadway debut in 1953 was given the Tony Award™ for Outstanding Play, it has been studied and performed for decades, and it is known as one of the top 10 most important American plays of all time. Now, ACT and Artistic Director John Langs present The Crucible stripped down and reimagined.
This stirring story of the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of our contemporary society. “The current political climate is pushing us closer and closer to the neighbor versus neighbor mentality that Arthur Miller so brilliantly captured in The Crucible,” said Langs. “As a piece of theatre that promotes dialogue, and conversations this is the perfect time to revisit this classic about the power of paranoia and fear.”
Written in 1953 in response to the atmosphere of paranoia and hysteria surrounding House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), created in 1938 to investigate those suspected of ties to the Communist Party, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible initially received cautious reviews ranging from non-committal to mediocre. Media at the time were wary about being seen to validate the play’s contemporary significance, as careers were already being ruined for those who were suspected of sympathizing with Communist ideals. But in the years since, it has become an acknowledged American classic and one of Miller’s most frequently produced plays, an enduring act of resistance that continually reasserts its relevance as history circles back on itself.
It’s not only beautifully crafted as a work of theatre, but also so intimately engaged with the souls of its characters and so deeply grounded in the understanding of essential human nature. It’s impossible to turn away from the story of Salem, because it’s our story too. We’re all subject to fear, greed, jealousy, lust, revenge, and there will always be those who are prepared to exploit and manipulate those weaknesses to serve their own ends, whether personal, religious, social, or political.
John Langs’ approach to this production was to commit to connecting the play as specifically as possible to our own time and to delivering its power simply, creating a world that would both stand for the claustrophobic Puritan setting of the story and at the same time remove any barriers that might distance the audience from experiencing its full impact and confronting what it means to us right now.
Now playing through November 12 at ACT Theatre
Tickets start at $20