The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Theatre Workshop of Owensboro
Directed by Laura Early, Kentucky Wesleyan College Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts
Featuring two current KWC Theatre Arts majors, Preston Middleton and Cody Moore
And KWC Alumni, Kevin Clark and Gerrimy Keiffer
Dates and times of performances:
Friday March 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday March 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday March 17 at 2 p.m.
Friday March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday March 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday March 21 9:00 performance for middle and high school students
To purchase tickets go to https://app.ticketturtle.com/index.php?ticketing=two
The nation faced a political whirlwind during the premiere of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" in 1953.
"There was so much going on, and it debuted in the heat of the McCarthy hearings," said Stephen Coppick, executive director of Theatre Workshop of Owensboro. "That was 60 years ago, but every generation has found something analogous to it, and that recreates the play. It's imbued with new meaning every time."
"The Crucible" opens on March 15 at the TWO Opryhouse, 418 Frederica St.
The dark stage was set with wooden frames and ropes, depicting a haunting 17th-century Salem, Mass. as the cast rehearsed Tuesday. In "The Crucible," Miller dramatizes the Salem witch trials of 1692 and 1693.
Florida designer Jennifer Rose Ivey developed the set. She also designed the set for TWO's February production, "The Rabbit Hole."
Coppick said about twice a year, TWO invites outside directors and designers.
"It's important to bring in new perspectives," he said.
A few cast members and the director are also new to TWO.
Laura Early, a theater professor at Kentucky Wesleyan College, is directing the show and said she's excited to work with TWO and hopes to continue.
"It's a great opportunity, and the cast, the set designer, the production team — they're all so talented and dedicated," she said. "I admire them because even though everyone works full time, they're extremely passionate in rehearsals. Other than that, though, this is one of my favorite plays. Its message is still relevant and vital."
Though "The Crucible" explores topics including an affair, witchcraft and execution, 12-year-old Kennedy Swope said that after learning more about the play, she's comfortable in her role.
Swope plays Betty, the daughter of a preacher and cousin of Abigail, the ringleader of a group of girls who accuse townspeople of witchcraft after the preacher found them dancing in the woods with his Barbadian slave.
"It's awful what they did in the Salem trials," Swope said. "My mom helped explain it to me, and I got to know more about it, so I understand it."
This is Swope's first role outside of elementary school musicals, in which she had lead roles.
"I was so nervous, but once you get on stage with everybody, everything's OK," she said. "I want to be in more plays here and there. I don't want to be a famous actress or anything — I'd rather live off the land; I'm a country girl — but I do love acting."
Kevin Clark, whose been in theater for 13 years, plays John Proctor, the farmer who had an affair with Abigail. He said he also appreciates the aesthetics of the play.
"I mean, it's Arthur Miller, it's classic," he said. "The language is fantastic. You chew it as you talk."
"I like the topicality of it," said Mike Quig, who plays Francis Nurse, a well-respected, wealthy townsman. "This was set several hundred years ago and is filled with persecution. So much of that is still going on."
The men said they researched their characters in depth to prepare for their roles.
"A lot of this really happened," Clark said. "A lot was based on real people. It's not just drama."
"Remembering that this was real helps us play the roles more authentically," said Preston Middleton, a KWC sophomore who plays John Williard, a compassionate constable.
A few of the cast members compared themes in the play to modern issues such as the "show me your papers" immigration law in some states.
"It's not a literal witch trial, but the idea of the law suggesting what a ‘witch' looks like is the same," said Gerrimy Keiffer, who plays the harsh Judge Hathorne. "It's unfair. You don't have to shout down the other side or be extreme right or left.
There's always room in the middle. John Proctor is a close example of what the middle is."
Early said she thinks the audience will be entertained by the play and that they take away something greater from it.
"I hope they find it interesting and exciting," she said. "But I also hope they see it in their own lives. This goes for all of us: When fingers start pointing and fury begins, we should step back and think of the consequences of things we say and do to people."
Angela Oliver, 691-7360, email@example.com