The Crucible by Arthur Miller at Langha Court Theatre November 18-December 3, 2016. A review.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller at Langham Court Theatre November 18-December 3, 2016. A review.

Langham Court Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, drives deep into the hearts and motivations of people—their petty jealousies, long-standing feuds, primordial urges and moral rectitude.  Written in 1953 about the Salem witch trials and considered to be an allegory of McCarthyism, this seminal work in the canon of great American drama stands outside of time with its examination of human character.

Beginning with the clear, tinkling notes of Jason King’s original soundscape, what appears to be innocence itself—a group of young girls dancing in the woods—quickly turns into a dark investigation into the very nature of community.

Anne Swannell’s set—a series of interlocking frames—moves and unfolds to become woods, the home of Reverend Parris, a farm, the courtroom and prison. Lit astutely in greens and dark tones (lighting design Carol-Anne Moore) and complemented by intriguing projections (Jason King), the overarching theme is one of brooding and foreboding—foreshadowing the terrible nature of the events to come—a perfect visual representation of acheronian.

the-crucible-photo-2-november-2016Tenyjah Indra McKenna as Tituba, Abby Baker as Betty Parris, Bill Allan as Reverend Samuel Parris,
Sarah Newton as Abigail Williams. Photo: David Lowes.

In tight upright Salem Village, the fractious behaviour of his congregants has the minister Reverend Samuel Parris (Bill Allan) struggling to achieve the upper hand. When he comes upon the girls dancing and his daughter Betty (Abby Baker) is suddenly taken with a fit, the horrible possibility of witchcraft raises its ugly head.  Within a short period of time, and with great economy, Miller sketches the essential elements of each person encountered in this epic drama—Abigail (Abby) Williams—played superbly by Sarah Newton as a conniving, duplicitous snake-in-the-grass, revelling in her power over the others;the servant girl Mary Warren (Shea O’Connor excels as a young woman who becomes an unwitting pawn in the proceedings); the weak-willed Parris (Allan waffles most convincingly as he strives to protect his own interests); the stalwart Gilles Corey (Douglas Crockett); the strong-willed and adulterous John Proctor (Alex Judd displays great emotional range in this demanding role) and his dutiful, loving and equally strong-willed wife Elizabeth (Elena Kellis grows from strength to strength as the story unfolds); the conflicted Reverend John Hale (Michael Bell is firm in his faith, then frenzied as full realization sets in).

the-crucible-photo-3-november-2016Sandra Alleyne-Batson as Martha Corey, Kenneth Yvorchuk as Deputy-Governor Danforth,
Jordan Bell as Judge Hawthorn. Photo: David Lowes

The psychological tension is formidable—how exactly does one prove that falsehood exists and slander has occurred? When a crowd begins to be swayed in its opinion and every good person comes under scrutiny—even long-standing and revered members of the community like Rebecca Nurse (Penny Pitcher) and Martha Corey (Sandra Alleyne-Batson)—does one go along in self-preservation or rise up in defence of the unjustly accused?  There are people like the Putnams (Bryony Blake and Carl Powell as stiff-necked and well-to-do landowners) who will always profit, convinced in their rancour of the justness of their position, when others suffer—a truism throughout the millennia of human existence.  Absolute power can and does corrupt—Kenneth Yvorchuk is chilling as Deputy-Governor Danforth and Jordan Bell remarkably querulous; the interplay between the two men reaching a fever pitch as John Hale pleads with them for the lives of the accused.

the-crucible-photo-1-november-2016Alex Judd as John Proctor and Sarah Newton as Abigail Williams. Photo: David Lowes

Director David MacPherson contends magnificently with a large cast of twenty seven, including Langham Court regulars, veterans of community theatre, current theatre students and newcomers to the stage, to produce a work that is gripping in its intensity while taking the time to develop the nuances of characters and relationships. The Salem witch trails may have happened over four hundred years ago, but the factors that motivate people have not—the questions become, “What sends us on a witch hunt in 2016?” and “Will I be a willing participant to the persecution of others or will I stand up?”

The Crucible by Arthur Miller, directed by David MacPherson
Langham Court Theatre
November 18-December 3, 2016

Tickets: Adult $22, Senior $20, Student $16. Tuesdays November 22 and 29, 2 for $30
Online, in person (Monday-Friday noon-4pm) or by phone 250-384-2142

Creative Team

Director David MacPherson
Assistant Director Perry Burton
Producer Jean Topham
Assistant Producer Rosalind Coleman
Stage Manager Kathy Macovichuk
ASM Michael Gosslin and Chris Bowen
Costume Designer Pearl Arden
Costume Assistants Jane Krieger and Madeleine Mills
Dressers Elodie Adams, Gaetanne Leduc and Geraldine Finch
Set Designer Anne Swannell
Props Maureen Colgan, Debbie Laverty and Virginia Landucci
Lighting Operator Debbie Laverty and Rosalind Coleman
Sound Designer Jason King
Sound Operators Andrea Pite, Larry Taylor and Mary-Ellen Law
Head Scenic Carpenter Chris Clarke
Photographer David Lowes


Abby Baker Betty Parris
Alex Judd John Proctor
Annie Konstantinov Mercy
Anton Brakhage Village man/Willard
Bill Allan Samuel Parris
Bryony Blake Ann Putnam
Carl Powell Thomas Putnam
Douglas Crockett Giles Corey
Elena M. Kellis Elizabeth Proctor
Elizabeth Brimacombe Sarah Good
Hailey Fowler Village girl
Hanna Seinen Goodie Franklin
Jane Rees Village girl
Jordan Bell Hawthorne
Kat Koenigshofer Suzanna Walcott
Ken Yvorchuk Danforth
Lauren Alberico Village girl
Mark Daley Ezekiel Cheever
Penny Pitcher Rebecca Nurse
Peter McNab Francis Nurse
Sandra Batson Martha Corey
Sarah Newton Abigail Williams
Shea Alyssa O’Connor Mary
Tess Kotchonoski Village girl
Tenyjah Indra McKenna Tituba

 Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to attend The Crucible.


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