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New Hampshire Theatre Project explores New England’s own horror story through Arthur Miller’s classic allegory The Crucible. Miller himself says that writing The Crucible was “an act of desperation,” his protest against McCarthyism and the persecution of all things “un-American.” Written in 1952 about events that occurred in 1692, the story is as fresh, terrifying – and pertinent – as it was 65 years ago. Recent books like Stacy Schiff’s The Witches help us understand that Miller fictionalized many of the actual historical events, but in doing so he humanizes what seems unfathomable to modern audiences, that neighbors could turn on neighbors and accuse almost 200 men, women, children and local pets of being possessed by evil.
Director Genevieve Aichele has chosen to stage The Crucible in the round, which will be an unusual experience for frequent patrons of the West End Studio Theatre. “I want the audience to participate fully in the action and emotions of the play, to feel a bit of the atmosphere that permeated Salem at the time – a deep fear of encroaching darkness, Indian raids that slaughtered whole families, wolves, winter, and a diabolical menagerie of devils, demons, witches, wizards and possessed animals.”
The cinematic experience of NHTP’s production of The Crucible will be augmented with original music by CJ Lewis which will incorporate the human voice and live sound effects along with recorded instrumentals.
The Crucible stars Blair Hundertmark as John Proctor, Heather Glenn Wixson as Elizabeth Proctor, Roland Goodbody as Deputy Governor Danforth, and Emily Karel as the seductive Abigail Williams. Other familiar seacoast actors include Helen Brock, Shawn Crapo, Alan Huisman, Teddi Kenick-Bailey, Rachel Prest, Dominique Salvacion, Kathleen Somssich, Paul Strand and Shay Willard, along with newcomers Jemma Glenn Wixson and Colleen Spear.
Along with Aichele and Lewis, production team for The Crucible includes Meghann Beauchamp (Lighting & Set Design), Rachel Vilandre (Costume Design), Rachel Neubauer (Sound Design), Robin Fowler (Stage Manager), and Van Wile (Directing Assistant).
Extraordinary. It's an amazing play, but it tears you apart emotionally. When the play ended on the night I saw it, the audience sat in silence with the stage dark and the lights on the audience. Then, after a few minutes, the entire audience began to clap. Everyone just sat and clapped for quite awhile. The three actors came back out for a second bow, but a stand up ovation was more than any of us could even express. I left in tears.
Outstanding... The direction was terrific and I loved your choice to have the men on stage during intermission and at the beginning of the show...very disturbing, but perfect. Thanks for such good theater right here in my own backyard.
What fine work! A terrific theatre experience. As you know, they can be few and far between!