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Friday, July 05, 2013

Anticipating The Crucible!

Today, my sister and I will be seeing Arthur Miller's McCarthy era play The Crucible, being performed by the Melbourne Theatre Company. The lead role of John Proctor is being played by the delicious David Wenham, whom most of you probably saw last in LOTR. Luckily, he seems to be keeping up the theatre performance stuff and he's going to make a terrific Proctor.

In case you aren't familiar with the play, it's set during the Salem witch trials, but it's really a comment on the dreadful political witch hunts of Miller's own time, when it wasn't enough to confess to being a Communist, you had to dob in someone else. The wonderful Howard Fast spent time in jail, where he wrote Spartacus, and when the movie was made, the script writer was Dalton Trumbo, one of those who had been blacklisted, though some had gone on writing behind "fronts"(there's a Woody Allen film of that name, in which he's a front for blacklisted writers). This was, I think, the first time he'd written under his own name since the blacklisting began. And it was because Kirk Douglas, the producer, basically said,"Stuff that!" and insisted on using his name.

When I was at high school, we did a production of The Crucible in which I played Elizabeth Proctor. I sort of spoiled it for myself by going to the library to research the actual story of the Salem witch trials and finding that John Proctor, the hero of this play, couldn't possibly have had an affair with Abigail Williams unless he was a truly sick man, as she was eleven at the time, so his motivation would have been different. His children were older than in the play and one was tortured with him. Oh, and Elizabeth, the wife with whom he reconciles so dramatically at the end, was cut out of his will.

Oh, well. As a piece of drama, with a bit of license, it is wonderful. I can't wait!

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