By: Emmy Martin, Featured Writer, NRCA Junior
I had the privilege of attending NRCA’s fall play, “The Crucible,” showcasing Squire Theatre’s incredible talent. It had a short but powerful run with the opening night Thursday, October 31 and the closing Saturday, November 2.
The play follows the corrupt society of Salem, Massachusetts, in the middle of the infamous witch trials. However, according to Jaylin John, a junior who played the protagonist John Proctor, it is more than that. “[It is] the face-off of good and evil, the forgiven and unforgiven, the guilty and innocent,” John said.
The production was sobering, and the actors poignantly portrayed their characters. Quite frankly, it seemed like the audience didn’t know whether to clap or stare wide-eyed in silence after each scene. Both Reghan Mayo, who played Abigail Williams, and John explained that “The Crucible” shows humanity’s flaws and need of redemption. “With it being a tragedy, redemption may not be reached at the end, but the audience can learn what they need to change in their lives from it,” Mayo said.
A crucible, the title’s namesake, is by definition a test or a trial, which accurately describes the internal and physical trials of the play in which people’s strongest beliefs are put to the test. The audience could truly feel John Proctor’s guilt and internal struggle consuming him throughout the performance.
“The Crucible” had minimalistic but symbolic sets. Stage and tech crews were effective in setting the solemn scene of a society shrouded in mistrust. The inward movement of the ceiling and sidepieces mirrored the growing tension and pressure among the town as the play progressed. In addition, the music was haunting but selective, emphasizing the characters’ dialogue and the lonely setting.
The actors interpreted their characters with the depth and perception of a more experienced cast, allowing the audience to deeply connect with them. As I watched the production, I felt that I was watching the interactions of people woven together rather than just working together. “We really rely on each other and are a close-knit family because of how small the cast is, as well as the serious message of the play. Everyone has a significant role in the storyline,” Mayo explained.
From cast to crew, to direction and lighting, “The Crucible” was performed and produced with excellence. As I left the auditorium, I heard many conversations about the impact of what we all just watched. “Watching ‘The Crucible’ demonstrated first-hand self–awareness and the act of forgiveness. It left a mark on me unlike a standard high school play,” junior Mary Stanford Austin said.