WMU News

Arthur Miller classic 'The Crucible' shows the power of lies

Oct. 28, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- University Theatre presents seven performances of Arthur Miller's gripping tale of "The Crucible" Thursday, Oct. 31, through Saturday, Nov. 9.

Suspicion and intrigue surround this classic tale of mass hysteria, which draws a parallel between the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 and the McCarthy era red scare of the 1950s.

Performances are Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and Nov. 7-9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. in the Multiform Theatre of the Gilmore Theatre Complex. Admission is $16, with $12 for senior citizens and WMU faculty and staff and $7 for students.

Tickets are available through the Gilmore Theatre Complex Ticket Office at (269) 387-6222. Ticket office hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. and two hours prior to performances. Tickets may also be purchased through the Epic Center Box Office in
downtown Kalamazoo at (269) 387-0402.

An opening night reception, sponsored by T.E. Murch's Cafe & Bakery, follows the Thursday, Oct. 31 performance. Those attending the Sunday, Nov. 3 matinee, are invited to remain afterward for a discussion of the play with the cast and production team.

"The Crucible" was recently revived on Broadway in 2002 with stars Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. The production was nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play, and four Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Play. The original Broadway production won four Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Author of a Play.

In his 1987 autobiography, Pulitzer Prize-winner Miller wrote that he was so upset about what was occurring in America in the 1950s, he wanted to write a metaphorical play to pierce through the pandemonium of the times. Miller had studied the Salem witch trials since his college days and he saw an "astonishing reflection of what was happening in the States at the time" when he revisited his studies in the 1950s.

Though the play was written to parallel the Salem witch trials and the McCarthy red scare, the play's theme is timeless. Sir Richard Eyre, the director of the Broadway revival states, "The further it gets from the McCarthy era, the more the play seems to be essentially about the individual in society, so it has a sort of eternal relevance."

The main theme in "The Crucible" addresses the power of lies, according to James Daniels, professor of theatre at WMU and director of the production.

The cast features seniors Brian Ogden as John Proctor, Alyssa Wilmoth as Abigail Williams, and Kirstine Titus as Elizabeth Proctor. Also appearing are seniors Alex Goodman, Jarek Khan, Mat Leleand, Andy Luther, Michelle McWilliams, and Kristen Padilla; juniors Sylvia Beasley, Nicole Gilman, Stacie Hadgikosti, Katy Jacobs, and Kristin Walker; sophomores Andres Barba, Ron Cheek, Robert Lombardo, Nylda Mark, and Nick Shaw; and freshmen Joshua Davis and George Frye.

Behind the scenes of "The Crucible" is a design/technical team composed entirely of students, including senior Tim Watson, scenic and sound designer; junior Linda Ward, lighting designer, senior Chelsea Osinski, costume designer, and sophomore Alyson Adams, stage manager.

Media contact: Shauna Thieman, 269 387-6222, shauna.thieman@wmich.edu

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