American High School Theatre Festival
Pilrig Studio Venue 103, 1bPIlrig Street
ARTHUR MILLER’S play The Crucible, set in the time of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 was intended as an indictment of Senator Joe McCarthy’s blacklisting of persons accused of communist sympathies in 1950sAmerica.
This modern dress production is presented by a talented bunch of High School students from Pius XI High School inWisconsin. Despite their youth, they have total mastery of the script.
Young Alex Sobczak’s manipulative accuser Abigail Williams was so convincing that the audience were scanning the ceiling for the imps and devils she claimed to see. Roc Bauman was every inch the stout God-fearing farmer who knew that the accusations of witchcraft against his wife Elizabeth and scores of others were nonsense; Connor could not make himself heard against the clamour for blood. Instead he came under suspicion too, especially as he could not remember all of the Ten Commandments. According to Reverend Hale, his examiner, ‘Theology is a fortress. No crack in the fortress can be allowed.’
The Crucible still speaks powerfully today as there will always be people who act or look different from the norm for one reason or another. Such folk can become objects of suspicion, fear and hatred and can be vulnerable to victimisation by unscrupulous manipulators with a score to settle or in pursuit of power and influence.
Reviewed by David Kerr
***** Five stars