The Crucible Offers Look At Hysteria, Paranoia And Danger Of Witch Hunting

Monday, October 30, 2017

Back Alley Productions is set to produce Arthur Miller’s legacy drama, “The Crucible,” with performances at the Mars Theatre on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. from Nov. 10-18, and a special 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 19. 

Tickets are available online at www.BAPshows.com, or at the lobby 30 minutes before showtime. The historic theater is at 117 N. Chattanooga St. in LaFayette.

Review for The Crucible: 

The Crucible is considered to be among Miller’s best plays, and is set during the Salem Witch Trials, a dark period in American history where ordinary citizens were tortured and even killed for being accused of witchcraft. Miller used the guilty-until-proven-innocent mentality of Salem as an examination of his own experiences with the McCarthy hearings during the 1950s. In was then that several prominent Americans, including Miller, were accused of national treason and links to Soviet communism, with little or no evidence. 

“The Crucible is such a powerful show and I’m glad to have such a talented cast to put it on,” said show director Joseph Henry Watts, who is making his directorial debut with Back Alley Productions. “Arthur Miller has always been my favorite playwright, and The Crucible has always been a dream of mine to direct. The show is powerful, dramatic, and has such great moments for theatre audiences to enjoy.” 

The story is told primarily through the eyes of a farmer named John Proctor, who suffers from the downfall of his community after several young girls attempt to conjure spirits in the woods. When caught, the girls accuse other inhabitants of Salem of practicing witchcraft. Soon their childish finger-pointing spirals into mass hysteria wherein everyone is a potential witch, leading to a cycle of distrust, accusation, arrest, and ultimately conviction. 

This production forgoes traditional 17th century Salem for a 1950s look and feel that Miller was familiar with, all in order to bring the metaphor of the Red Scare to the forefront, while drawing allusions to our own modern world.  

"The story of a community - pastors, farmers, lawyers and families - all leaning into their worst selves through paranoia and accusation is a powerful message for today,” said Mr. Watts. “While this production is apolitical, I think it’s fair to say that in our current political climate everyone, regardless of background, has developed a sense of fear from those they disagree with. Miller is definitely using both instances of the witch trials and McCarthyism to warn audiences of the cost of such fears and hysterias.” 

Mr. Watts adds that the production will be performed in Alley staging. 

“We’ve thrown away the idea of performing the show in a typical proscenium-style fashion,” he said. “The show will be performed in a transverse stage style known as Alley Staging. This is the first attempt at this unique staging strategy from Back Alley in an attempt to truly show the depth, hysteria, and paranoia based in The Crucible.” 

 



Heritage House Shows The Scarlet Empress Dec. 10

Heritage House Arts & Civic Center rounds out the first season of the International Film Series with the sixth of the seven collaborations between actress Marlene Dietrich and director Josef Von Sternberg, the Scarlet Empress. It will be shown Sunday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. Admission will be free.  Review for the Scarlet Empress: A highly fictionalized biopic of the ... (click for more)

An Evening With The Voices Of Lee To Take Place Dec. 6

Lee University’s Voices of Lee will present An Evening with the Voices of Lee to celebrate their new release, “A Cappella Christmas.” The concert will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in Pangle Hall.  The performance will feature music from the new Christmas CD, which features songs such as “Little Drummer Boy, “Christmas Time is Here,” and “Have Yourself a Merry ... (click for more)

$100,000 Powereball Winner In Greeneville

A Tennessee Lottery Powerball player in Greeneville woke up Thanksgiving morning a $100,000 winner.  The as-yet-unknown player matched 4 of 5 white balls drawn plus the Powerball in the Wednesday night drawing, which has a base prize of $50,000. Since he or she added the Power Play option for a dollar, the prize was multiplied by the Power Play number drawn, which was ... (click for more)

Hixson Burglary Suspect Tries To Swim Away; Deputies Catch Him In Borrowed Boat

A Hixson burglary suspect on Wednesday tried to swim away from deputies, but to no avail.   The proprietor of Chattanooga Fish and Fun was notified when his camera system was triggered by an individual attempting to break into his business. The owner immediately contacted the Sheriff's Office and drove to the business location.   As deputies arrived on scene, ... (click for more)

Stormwater Fiasco And East Ridge Camping

When did the Chattanooga City Council get replaced by members of the East Ridge City Council? I don't recall a time in Chattanooga where they've voted to shoot the city in the foot more than they have lately.  If this goes through despite the environmental impact warnings and then Camp Jordan has increased flooding after spending millions on sports ball fields, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Chicken Gun

On the very day when more poultry is consumed in the United States than at any other time in the year, fun-loving Wendell Burns shared a wonderful story about “The Chicken Gun.” What makes the tale even better is that it was designed and built to perfection by the folks at the Arnold Air Force Base that you know is near Tullahoma, Tn. Wendell’s mistake in sending the story is ... (click for more)