A maddening witch hunt, a town turned on its head, and a court fallen to corruption -- and it all started with a dance; this crazed phenomenon, the hunt for witches, that swept Salem, Mass., in 1692, was depicted beautifully in Langley High School's production of "The Crucible."
"The Crucible" was written by Arthur Miller in 1952, at the height of America's era of the Red Scare and McCarthyism. The play was written as an allegory, comparing the Salem witch trials of the late 1600s to the hunt for communists in the 1950s. The story centers around John Proctor (Brian Patterson), whose wife, Elizabeth (Taylor Goodson), as well as many other women of the town of Salem, has been accused of witchcraft. He endures humiliations and frustrations, and eventually is forced to confront his own sins to reveal truth to the town and the courts.
Langley's performance of "The Crucible" displayed a spectacular level of character development and comprehension of the script. Each person onstage was well-defined and well-depicted; every actor was fully in character and remained engaged in the action of the plot during the entirety of the show. Langley was able to produce a rather refreshing rendition of "The Crucible" in that the cast maintained a steady pace that pushed the plot forward, and was able to successfully avoid any dull moments throughout the show.
The cast in its entirety was incredibly talented, and the leading roles reflected this talent. Brian Patterson, who played John Proctor, handled the difficult role spectacularly. He had a very commanding voice and presence; his demeanors, mannerisms and facial expressions were highly convincing. He portrayed a huge range of emotions brilliantly. His interactions with Taylor Goodson, who played his wife Elizabeth Proctor, were beautiful to watch; they portrayed a dynamic married couple incredibly, ranging their interactions from tense to compassionate to tender. Goodson performed with gracefulness and maturity; her performance as an older woman was amazingly believable.
Other characters showed similar chemistry and development onstage. Abigail Williams (Lauren Fernandez) was a character that the audience loved to hate. Fernandez portrayed her character with incredible depth. She displayed a great amount of passion, without being overly dramatic, and had wonderful interactions with both Patterson as well as the ensemble of girls who she so maliciously manipulated. Other characters showed a similar level of character development and gave impressive performances, including Kaity Hinojosa as Tituba, Chris Baughman as Reverend John Hale and Caroline Callahan as Mary Warren. The ensemble was very interactive and maintained interest in every scene.
Though simple, the set and props were highly effective and allowed for more focus to be placed on the actors. Even without microphones, actors could easily be heard and understood. The scene changes were somewhat long, but the use of music during such changes was valuable. In a unique use of their stage, Langley chose to include the audience in the action to create personal setting for their production. At times, this posed an issue for blocking, as it required some actors to put their back to some part of the audience; however, the cast handled this type of staging exceptionally well.
Overall, Langley High School delivered a fantastic performance of a gripping play. The cast truly displayed an admirable amount of passion through the entire performance, which had audience members waiting at the edges of their seats.