Theatre Information

Langley High School The Crucible

By • Apr 25th, 2012 • Category: Cappies, Virginia

Vengeance. Lies. Suspicion. Pride. You could feel the hairs on your arm standing up as you were led onto the dimly lit stage in front of a black and red mural of what looked like bloodied shards of glass that covered the wall. It was then, while I sat timidly on the stage along with the rest of the audience waiting for the opening scene, that I knew Langley High School’s The Crucible would portray the depth of such a poignant play in an artistic and unique way.

Written by Arthur Miller in 1952, The Crucible takes place in Puritan Salem, Massachusetts. Miller wrote the play as an allegory for the Red Scare and McCarthyism that turned Americans against each other in the 50′s. Fueled by selfishness and corruption of morals, the characters of The Crucible web lies of witchcraft and religious corruption in order to secure their own fates and ‘prove’ their loyalty to God, which results in many unprecedented arrests of innocent women for ‘practicing witchcraft and conspiring with Lucifer.’

John and Elizabeth Proctor, played by Brian Patterson and Taylor Goodson, effectively convinced the audience of their strained yet resilient relationship simply by their mannerisms, tone of voice, and chemistry onstage. Goodson became her character — she found a level of maturity in her character that most teenage girls would not understand or recognize. Patterson, like Goodson, was able to connect to his character so well that the audience truly forgot that they were watching two high school students and not a married couple.

Lauren Fernandez chiseled the selfish character of Abigail Williams into someone deeply insecure and desperate, demonstrating her ability to recognize the complexity of Abigail and communicate that to the audience with poise and consistence. Another memorable performance was that of Chris Baughman, who played Reverend John Hale. Baughman was able to illustrate the growth and change that his character undergoes throughout the play with conviction and purpose. Tituba, played by the outstanding Kaity Hinojosa, stunned the audience with her ability to portray such a distinctive and exotic character with such ease and excellence. Her physicality, as well as consistent accent, added to the realism of her character and overall success of the show. Although The Crucible is a cathartic and dismal play, some of the characters seemed to lack a buildup of emotion that resulted in exaggerated and confusing reactions.

One aspect of the tech that stood out was the lighting and sound in the final scene. Instead of showing the hangings, the sound and lighting portrayed the deaths in an artistic and abstract way, using flashes of yellow light and a beating drum. The finality of the drum as well as the sharp and final blackout after the flash of yellow light left the audience bewildered and afraid — as it was meant to do. Although some of the sound cues were not perfect, the music that played during set changes as well as during some of the scenes really added to the eerie atmosphere of the production.

Langley High School created a unique experience for the audience, because not only did we have the pleasure to watch the well-done show, we were a part of the show. The audience represented the judgmental townspeople of Salem at the time of the witch trials, which gave each of us a close and intimate experience of The Crucible. This play, because it is so complex and mature, definitely challenged both the cast and crew — but Langley was able to tell the gloomy story of The Crucible with their own distinctive voice.

by Rachel Bondy of W. T. Woodson HS

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