Salem Witch Trials Coming to UWSP Stage
For the City-Times
The Salem witch trials of 1692 come to life in “The Crucible,” staged by the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Feb. 28-March 2 and March 6-8.
A Tony Award winner written by Arthur Miller in 1952 as an allegory for Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communism tactics, “The Crucible” is a tense, spine-tingling play exposing the power of fear in society. In this fictionalized account of the historic trials, several young women are caught participating in a Pagan practice. Accusations of witchcraft begin to fly and the adults in town are pulled into a deception that ends in tragedy.
“The Crucible” will be performed in Jenkins Theatre in the Noel Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage St., at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and March 1, and Thursday through Saturday, March 6-8. A 2 p.m. matinee will be performed Sunday, March 2.
Admission is $19 for adults, $18 for senior citizens and $14 for youth. UW-Stevens Point student tickets are $4.50 or free the day of the show. Tickets are available at the Information and Tickets Office in the Dreyfus University Center, http://tickets.uwsp.edu, or by calling 715-346-4100 or 800-838-3378.
“The play asks, ‘What does it take to stand up in the face of fear?’” said its director, Assistant Professor Jared Hanlin of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “The people of Salem were trying to build a godly civilization while surrounded by the destructive forces of the natural environment, which they believed to be the stronghold of their supernatural enemy – the Devil. Beset on all sides by fear, they tried to circle the wagons to survive – only to turn on each other.”
Twenty-one student cast members explore both the physical and emotional nature of the story, Hanlin said. “It’s wonderful to see them digging deeper into their characters at rehearsals every night.” Cast members will wear period costumes from the late 17th century, and perform in a set that blends the inside and outside spaces to reflect how the environment is closing in on the townspeople and inciting their fear.
A special matinee will be performed for students from area high schools on Wednesday, March 5, providing an excellent opportunity to see history and literature come alive, Hanlin said.