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Theatre & dance dept. brings modern twist to the traditions of The Crucible

Sally Kershner
Features Editor

It’s Halloween weekend here at the College, and campus is filled to the brim with spooky activities, cheap decorations from WalMart and pumpkin spice flavored everything — so it’s the best time of the year. As the leaves and GPA’s of students after midterms fall, the campus offers many opportunities to get into the Halloween spirit. This year, the theatre department will be presenting The Crucible over the entirety of this Halloween weekend.

The Crucible is a timely play because it revolves around the Salem witch trials, a historic chain of events that often inspire Halloween themed films, books and, in this case, plays. But don’t assume the theatre department chose The Crucible because it fits in with the theme of this weekend, or because they wanted Wooster students to amp up their previous performance in their high school version of this play.

“We are doing The Crucible because of the current political climate. The visual projections in the background will build a bridge between the Salem witch trials and the current political climate,” said Hannah Smith ’19. “It’s supposed to get you to think about what is happening around us. We are taught about theatre for social change; we can use theatre as a tool to make change and to make people think.” Smith is a first time actress for the College and will be playing the role of Susanna Walcott.

The visual projections are a reference to Ji In Yoo ’17’s I.S. on storytelling. Yoo’s projections are of propaganda posters and posters of discrimination from history to aid how the story of The Crucible is being told. Shannan Burrows ’17’s I.S. is also being interwoven with the play. She is seeing how feminist theory translates into the set design and creates a whole world for the play. Burrows is helping create a very unconventional set design for this very traditional play.

“The only realism will be the costumes. A lot of blocking is based on power dynamics and power shifts. We play with power levels and the way in which that interacts with characters to show the power dynamic between those characters,” said Smith.

A unique aspect to this staging will be the installment of a giant swing in the middle of the stage.

“I’m on the midrail, so I run some of the projections, and I also raise and lower the swing of the set. The swing is what Abigail is on and how she watches everything around her […] I love working the swing. I have never seen The Crucible done like this but it’s so interesting. It’s a very interesting take stage and design-wise,” said backstage crew member Cleo Potter ’20.

To see this unconventional take on a traditional play, head down to Freedlander Theatre this weekend. The premiere was Thursday, Oct. 27, but The Crucible will run its course through Saturday, Oct. 29. Curtains part at 7:30 p.m., and this event is completely free to students.

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