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The Darker Side of South County Drama

This fall South County Secondary School is taking a turn towards the dramatic side with their production of "The Crucible” by Arthur Miller. The story takes place in the late 1600s and centers on the character of John Proctor, played by sophomore Kevin Lutz, who must try to stop his young mistress, Abigail Williams, from spreading the accusations of witchcraft through the whole town of Salem, Mass..

“I knew that this was going to be a challenge for my students,” said Mrs. Adams-Johnson, the theatre teacher and director of the show, “but, after a physical comedy like ‘You Can’t Take it with You,’ I thought that an emotional drama like ‘The Crucible’ would give them a chance to show their range.” The actors really seem to agree with her, “this show is very different from what we did last year, so it allows people to see a new side of our drama department,” said Molly Dickerson, a senior playing the role of Elizabeth Proctor.

One of the most interesting aspects of the show is that it directly ties into the 11th grade English and History curriculum. As Ray Yankey, a junior who is portraying the role of Reverend Parris, put it, “The play portrays the Salem Witch Trials, a crucial part of American Social History, and shows the colonial New England town in great detail. Performing in the play is helping me to better understand both American history as well as American literature, because I believe that Arthur Miller is one of the greatest playwrights of the modern era.”

All of the actors have found special inspiration in the actual Salem witch trials. “The story is about real events and we're portraying real people in history. This is key to creating our characters, because we have to think about what they would have actually felt when they were living. It's almost somewhat more difficult, because as an actor, you feel obligated to be true to the person and their memory,” says junior Claire Bridger, who will also play the role of Elizabeth Proctor.

Another change for the department is the double casting within the show. Mrs. Adams-Johnson decided that in order to give more acting opportunities within the relatively small cast, she would assign two people to one part. Each actor will have a chance to perform in two shows and receive equal amounts of time on stage at rehearsals. One of the most notable of the doubled parts is that of Abigail, played by Elizabeth Ensminger and Katie Robey. “At first I was worried that being double-cast would cause problems, but now I realize how beneficial it is, because Katie and I really help each other to understand the character, and overall are becoming better, more cooperative actresses in the process,” said Ensminger.

Additionally, the technical aspects of the show have been made much more difficult because this is a period piece. “We’ve been taking extra care in building the set and costumes; we’re trying to make this show as authentic as we possibly can.” said junior Mariah Kalil, co-costume designer, “It is very difficult to outfit an entire cast in 17th century dress with a limited budget, but we’re really trying!”