The student body at Upper St. Clair High School may have breathed a sigh of relief as the first nine weeks came to a close, but not the students participating in this year’s fall play, The Crucible. Performances of their highly anticipated production ran October 29 through November 2. The countless hours students spent working to perfect their individualized performances, as well as the play as a whole, paid off as the cast performed for several sold shows.
Written by Arthur Miller, The Crucible is a widely popular and slightly fictionalized tale of the Salem witch trials that occurred in Massachusetts from 1692 to 1693. The play was written as a commentary on the United States’ McCarthy Era, when suspected communists were questioned by the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee.
The Committee questioned Miller as a suspect and accused him of withholding information. Nonetheless, the play went on after its debut performance in 1953 to be a major part of the canon of American drama and won a Tony Award, as well as being officially recognized as a classic.
Senior Melissa Levine, who played Mary Warren, commented: “I think they are going to love it. Parents, teachers and students have all been really receptive to it so far.” When asked about how this play differs from previous performances, she referenced last year’s musical All Shook Up, saying that “last year’s performance was basically a farce. It was bold, brassy, and funny, whereas The Crucible is much less outlandish. It is, in a way, withdrawn, intellectual, and most of all, it is very sophisticated.”
Another member of the cast, Erik Warmbein, displayed incredible enthusiasm in reference to crowd reaction: “I could feel the weight of the crowd’s eyes staring at me as I entered center stage. It was really exhilarating to see the crowd get into it like that.”
As for the audience members, they were extremely impressed by the cast’s performance, and felt that “they did an incredible job taking a very complex story and simplifying it without compromising the strength of the characters or the overall story.” One audience member, Amanda Middleman, commends the performance: “It was incredible how they basically transported the audience to Salem. It was actually quite an amazing opportunity and I am strongly debating whether to see it again.”