Normally the books you study in school haunt you for the rest of your life. You shudder when you see somebody reading it on the bus and have PTSD style flash backs to three hour English lessons discussing the use of imperatives from a female role.
For me, this is the exception. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a play I poured over for hours, scrutinising and scrawling over, throughout my English A Level. This self-inflicted overanalysis simply made me fall in love with the story more and more.
When the young girls of Salem get mixed up with witchcraft, the town spirals into chaos and fingers begin to point, causing fatal consequences. Strong performances from Charlie Condou as Reverend Hale and Victoria Yeates as Elizabeth Proctor. These characters have their sanity brushed under the carpet, creating frustration that builds as the play goes on.
John Proctor may well be one of my favourite characters of all time. He represents you as a modern audience, looking back upon the madness that ensued due to a few rash accusations. Eoin Slattery grew stronger as John Proctor as he performed, heavily connecting with the audience as the voice of reason and evoking emotion when he is forced to bow to religion in order to remain moral.
An isolated spotlight over the bed-ridden Betty and a consistent flow of smoke created a spine chilling scene to open upon. Stage directions were projected onto the imposing walls, introducing the characters and bookending the performance with an appropriately dramatic “The Curtain Falls”.
The stripped yet multifunctional set and understated costumes portrayed Miller in his purest form, allowing the magnificent story to take over. This combination generated a dark and intense production, meaning you remained gripped for all three hours. This is all the more impressive when you bring into account that a large percentage of the story is static archaic dialogue.
From All My Sons to The Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller never fails to perfectly encapsulate a time period, atmosphere or character relationship, and this production told the story in its barest form, displaying Miller’s writing and allowing it to be appreciated for what it is.
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