The play, written by American playwright Arthur Miller and directed by local theatre veteran Kathryn Loughman, is a dramatized interpretation of actual events and people who were part of the Salem witchcraft trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts during 1692.
Loughman said choosing “The Crucible” was an easy choice considering the fact that it greatly interested her as young woman in high school and later in college. Locals may also reap the benefits of the production, including high school students, as it is part of the wide literary curriculum at Patterson High School and focuses on historical atrocities.
The play is meant to surprise and challenge the audience’s critical thinking capabilities, as well as introduce themes that relate to theocratic society, hysteria and mob mentality.
The choice director stated how important it was to perform a true drama instead of the usual comedies or melodramas that frequent the Patterson stage, and lauded fellow actors for their hard work over the past few weeks.
“I wanted to do something dramatic because our actors have never performed a full-blown drama,” said Loughman during Monday evening’s rehearsals. “I’m really surprised by what we were able to accomplish. By the fourth act, all of us are crying because of how deep the play is.”
Loughman was not the only person to express these sentiments. Theatre-goers and citizens who frequented the 10th Annual Art and Wine Gala just a week earlier were treated to a special showing of the play, which caused many audience members to swell in tears, hold back gasps and look on with a surprised countenance.
For fellow actress Danielle Garcia, the play is a complete turnaround from her pervious production, “Beauty and the Beast,” which alluded to younger audiences. Instead, she now must focus her efforts on portraying Mary Warren, a timid servant of the Proctor family who is easily influenced by her surrounding society. Garcia said she looked at her character from a modern perspective to try to influence her acting capabilities for the role.
“Mary is someone who is trying to fit in, but is torn between two decisions—to tell the truth or keep lying to get out of trouble,” said Garcia.
As a senior at Patterson High School, Garcia said she was familiar with the play, but didn’t think students really understood the dire circumstances associated with the play’s themes.
“There’s a difference between reading the play and seeing it on stage,” said Garcia. “When people read it, they don’t see it as a very tense play, but it is really much more than that. The whole thing is about the influence that society can be on someone—everyone is a victim. This play has such depth. I think everyone will be surprised to see what the actors can do and how they will portray the characters.”
Depicting the lead male John Proctor is Rickey Soto, a local resident who graduated PHS two years prior to joining the cast. Soto said portraying the stern, harsh-tongued Proctor was a difficult but eventful endeavor.
“He’s a very complicated character,” said Soto on Tuesday evening, April 22. “He comes from a strict time when you are either with God or Satan. There was no gray area, just good and evil. I feel that he is a mix between the two. Either way, it’s exhilarating for me to play him.”
The play isn’t without its comedic chops, however, attested Soto.
“The play has a bit of wit and comedy to it,” he said. “It’s two parts drama and one part comedy. It’s an all-around good play.”
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.