SUNY Cortland students will stage a unique rendition of playwright Arthur Miller’s acclaimed 1953 drama about the Salem Witch Trials, “The Crucible,” which will open Thursday, Feb. 20, and run through Sunday, Feb. 23.
“It is a story about fear, forgiveness and what happens when a child lies,” said director Mark Reynolds. “The audience focuses on the witches in the beginning of the play, but that is not what it is really about.”
The play will be performed in the Lab Theatre of the SUNY Cortland’s Dowd Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $8 each and available only at the door. As the theater seats a maximum of 100 people, tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Presented by the Performing Arts Department, “The Crucible” will be performed at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 22; with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Feb. 22, and Sunday, Feb. 23.
Reynolds, the costume designer in the Performing Arts Department, recently taught a one-time course titled, “The Crucible Project.”
David Newman as John Proctor and Camille Parlman as Mary Warren perform in a scene from "The Crucible." Other cast members watch the powerful scene in the Dowd Center Lab Theatre during rehearsal Saturday.
He said he is ecstatic to be given the opportunity to bring this “classic American theater” to life. “Watching the production unfold, I feel more of a connection to Arthur Miller than ever,” Reynolds said.
Each actor cast for the play has taken Reynolds’ course, so the students were months ahead of the production and had been well-familiarized with the storyline of “The Crucible,” according to Reynolds.
With rehearsals six days a week, the students feel well-prepared to put on the best three hour performance that they can, especially leads David Newman, Lindsey Galgano and Emily Freeman.
Newman, a junior musical theatre major, was cast in the role of John Proctor, his first lead role in a SUNY Cortland production.
“I love this show so much,” said Newman, noting that he read the script three or four times over the holiday break. “It is a long production, but it is worth it for people to come.”
Seniors Galgano and Freeman, also musical theatre majors, have had a passion for musical theater since they were young and have been cast in previous SUNY Cortland productions such as “A Christmas Carol,” “Once Upon a Mattress” and last semester’s “Rocky Horror Show.”
Galgano, who was the Queen in “Once Upon a Mattress” and the Ghost of Christmas Future in “A Christmas Carol,” is not new to the spotlight.
“Our timeline for the play is the original ‘American Horror Story,’” said Galgano, referring to the popular FX Networks television period drama. “There are so many different views to ‘The Crucible’ and it really captures you. Everyone is really passionate.”
This is also Freeman’s first lead in a straight show. Cast as Abigail Williams, she considers this role to be a personal challenge for her because the character of Williams is completely unlike who she is.
“In this business, people are rarely given the opportunity to play opposite of their character,” said Freeman. “Abigail is so different to get into, but the actions I perform and the things I say give her so much lust.”
“The Crucible” is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the infamous trials that took place in the Providence of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693.
Reynolds considers the conclusion of the play to contain one of the most beautiful poems that Miller has ever written. It takes place with John Proctor in a jail cell making the decision whether to “live in lie or die and be free.”
“To be able to have college students connect to ‘The Crucible’ in such an in-depth way is incredible to watch,” said Reynolds. “The students have made this performance relevant to themselves.”