PITTSBURG — Pittsburg High School Theatre will present the cautionary tale, “The Crucible” beginning Thursday.
The script was written during a time of “extreme social upheaval” in the United States during the McCarthy Trials, written by Arthur Miller. The cast and crew said it’s still relevant today.
The play has had many renditions, this particular one has a cast of 24 characters portrayed by PHS Theatre.
The director, Greg Shaw, said the play was an opportunity to be “a cross-curricular endeavour.” PHS juniors study “The Crucible” in their English classes, many of these juniors and seniors know the play pretty well from that standpoint, Shaw said.
On Thursday morning 600 students had the opportunity to see the play, some from PHS and other students from other schools in the area.
During meetings, the cast and crew had discussions and shared their thoughts on what truth is, which person is more trustworthy, the criteria for selecting who is trustworthy and how to come to those decisions.
“‘The Crucible’ in itself, I don’t know if it has ever been so timely in our lifetime than it is right now,” Shaw said. “With lots of different aspects of social media, there's this question — fake news and all of that.
“What do we believe, who should we believe and what credentials make somebody trustworthy? “Is an accusation something that should be adhered to or does it need to be an accusation followed by proof?”
Katie Painter is casted as Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of John Proctor.
“She is a very reserved Puritan woman and she keeps to herself and she tries to do what she believes is right,” Katie said. “She’s a very honest, conscientious person.
“In the play she ends up having a little bit of a change of heart because she goes through the struggles in the show and throughout the show her faith is tested, and the faith of her husband and in her religion is tested throughout the show.
“She has to figure out whether to stay true to that or to waiver the way she’s always gone by.”
Last year as a junior in high school, Katie read “The Crucible” in class as an assignment and found the story interesting, she said.
“This is a situation that isn’t specific to the Salem Witch Trials, it talks about people being accused and sometimes unrightly accused and trying to decide what is right and what’s wrong, what to believe and what not believe they can take away that everything shouldn’t always taken at face-value,” Katie said. “There are a lot of situations like that which have happened throughout American history too, where people are accused of something so our judicial system have to decide is this something we take and believe or how do we differentiate what is the truth.”
Dain Reiling sees the show from the seats as a stage manager. He looks over the script and cues. Dain said the cast has done well portraying the characters as they go through various emotions, including the shrill screaming.
He said there are lessons to be found, such as “listening to all sides” and “using your own best judgement.”
Bryson Brown, a sophomore, has been casted in his first “big role” as John Proctor, the main character of the show. Bryson said he was surprised to see his name next to the characters after auditions.
“I hope they look at things more critically and not look at things with such face value,”
He said he thinks more thoroughly, he lets it settle in his mind for a little while before making a decision.
People do not have to worry about political ramifications, Shaw said, because overall the show is meant for entertaining with the story inspired by a historical event, dramatic license and literary adaptation.
Want to go?
The theatre will present “The Crucible” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 and Oct. 20 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium. Tickets may be purchased online at www.memorialauditorium.org.