Arthur Miller's Tony Award-winning tragic drama, The Crucible, will be presented Nov. 8-11 at the Rylander Theatre in downtown Americus by Sumter Players and Georgia Southwestern State University Dramatic Arts.
Directed by Chris Barr, The Crucible uses the backdrop of the 17th century Salem witch trials to explore themes of intolerance, hysteria, depravity and reputation relevant even in today’s society. The story focuses upon a young farmer, his wife and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes the wife's arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie — and it is here that the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is terrifyingly depicted. The farmer, instead of saving his wife, finds himself also accused of witchcraft and ultimately condemned with a host of others.
The strong local cast features Will Dozier as the young farmer, John Proctor, the tragic protagonist, Rebekah Martens as his highly moral wife Elizabeth, and Sarah Thompson as Abigail Williams, the Jezebel whose sexual desires and lust for power bring on the ever escalating conflagration. The paranoid, but greedy demagogue, Reverend Parris, is played by Jonathan Minich; Eric Holt is the vindictive Thomas Putnam; the pure and saintly martyr, Rebecca Nurse, is portrayed by Irmgard Schopen-Davis; the tragi-comic figure of Giles Corey is played by William Searcy; Tituba, the slave girl whose dance inspires the charges of witchcraft, is portrayed by Crystal Neal; Jason Wallace, fresh from his selection as Best Actor at the Georgia Theatre Conference, plays the intellectual, but naive witch hunting Reverend John Hale; and Patrick Peacock is Deputy-Governor Danforth, the stern judge of the witchcraft trials.
The cast also includes Ashley Longacre as Susanna Wolcott, Meredith Nelson as Mercy Lewis, Charlotte Schopen-Davis as Betty Parris, Jen O'Rourke as Ann Putnam, Richard Nettum as Francis Nurse, Adam Brown as Ezekial Cheever, T.A. Gatling as Judge Hathorne, Chris Gilstrap as John Willard, Richard Thornton as Hopkins and Daina Rosario as Sarah Good. Stage design is by Ray Mannila, light design is by Lane Marchant and costuming is by Stephanie Steinhorst.
With performances that are intense, chilling and deeply moving — showing how ignorance and good intentions can interweave to destroy lives with tension ratcheting to a disturbing level as a town disintegrates — The Crucible is at once terrifying and entertaining. It will be performed at the Rylander Theatre in downtown Americus at 8 p.m. Nov. 8, 9 and 10 with a Sunday Matinee at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 11. Reserved seat tickets to all performances are available at the Rylander box office, 310 W. Lamar St. in Americus, 229-931-0001 or (toll-free) 1 877 662-2312, and online from rylander.org and sumterplayer.org (Groups of 10 or more receive discounted rates). Major credit/debit cards are accepted.
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