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The Crucible

a Drama
CATEGORY :
by Arthur Miller

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Norcross Community and Cultural Arts Center
ID# 3801

SHOWING : September 03, 2010 - September 19, 2010

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Miller's chilling tale of the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for McCarthyism will be presented on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, and Sundays at 2:00, from September 3 through September 19 at Lionheart Theatre in the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center.

Tickets are available online at http://www.lionhearttheatre.org/, or by phone at (678) 938-8518.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director John Doran
Lights James Beck
Ezekiel Cheever Richard Blair
Thomas Putnam Scott Brocato
John Hale Jason Caldwell
Rebecca Nurse Nancy Caldwell
Mary Warren Allie Carroll
Elizabeth Proctor Tanya Carroll
Giles Corey James Connor
Francis Nurse Leo Finocchio
Abigail Williams Sarah Frey
Mercy Lewis Brandi Kilgore
Judge Hathorne John Stephen King
Reverend Parris Scott King
Judge Danforth Joseph McLaughlin
Ann Putnam Debbie McLaughlin
Betty Parris Marianne Shelburn
John Proctor Bob Smith
Sarah Good Catherine Thomas
Costumer Design Catherine Thomas
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REVIEWS

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Arthur Miller's Classic
by playgoer
Monday, September 6, 2010
4.5
"The Crucible" is acknowledged as one of Arthur Miller's masterworks. Lionheart Theatre Company's production of it does the play proud. First-time director John Doran (assisted by Daphne Mintz) allows too many backs-to-the-audience interactions and obscured background actors, but he makes up for it with a sweeping dramatic arc and some fine stage pictures. In particular, the grouping of Abigail and the other girls in act two, following the recantation of Mary Warren, is artistically and dramatically right, with main instigator Abigail rising above the huddled accusers.

The set, which is given no design credit in the program, is a simple, rough-hewn background for the action. The action occurs across a number scenes, all of which are indicated by simple furniture placement. A weathered door center stage provides the single visible point of entry, although entrances through an audience aisle are used in one scene to delineate a distinct location. Lighting also is on the simple side, with each act ending with a fade down of the overall lights as a spot illuminates the final action.

Costuming too is of the simple styles preferred in Puritan society, although a fine job is done by designer Catherine Thomas and her assistants to mark social distinctions. The almost lacy elegance of rich Thomas Putnam contrasts nicely with the homespun-and-leather clothes worn by litigating farmer Giles Corey. There is a variety in bonnet style, stocking fabric, and footware that few productions would bother with. This is not a standard-issue, we-got-this-in-bulk costuming effort. The costumes are plain, but are full of variety.

The acting too is straightforward and honest. I was surprised at how little stage time some actors had, compared with my memory of the play, but was impressed by how large an impression some of them made. No one comes across poorly, and all the actors seem fully engaged in bringing Arthur Miller's words to life.

Lionheart Theatre Company is developing a stable of regular actors, all of whom acquit themselves admirably. Debbie McLaughlin, in the smallish role of Ann Putnam, impresses with her eloquence and honesty. Her husband Joseph McLaughlin, as Deputy Governor Danforth, does not appear until the second act, but drives the action with force and intensity every moment he is on stage. Tanya Caldwell and Bob Smith, award-winning actors for the state in a previous year's one-act-play competition, bring dignity and reserved passion to their roles as Elizabeth and John Proctor. Allie Carroll (Tanya's daughter) does fine work as Mary Warren, and her body language while on the witness stand speaks volumes about her character. Nancy Caldwell (Tanya's mother-in-law), brings believable age and conviction to her role as the near-saintly Rebecca Nurse. And Scott King starts the show with power as the sanctimonious Reverend Samuel Parris.

Newcomer Sarah Frey takes on the central role of Abigail Williams. The role is crucial to the play, for we must see her manipulation and deceptiveness, while the authority figures in the play must not. It's a fine line to trace, and Ms. Frey does an excellent job. Her height, strength, and good looks all combine to make her a formidable enemy to any decent folk in Salem who oppose her. It's an auspicious debut.

The production does not emphasize the bits of humor scattered throughout the show. Brandi Kilgore brings a few smiles as Mercy Lewis, the accusing girl whose attitude most clearly says "I'll get you for opposing us" as Mary Warren tries to stand up for the truth. It's a nice contrast to the almost stoic expressions of Abigail Williams, who must hide any telltale signs of her underlying resentments. Another role that could easily be comic is that of Giles Corey, a plainspoken farmer with a propensity for bringing lawsuits. In the hands of James Connor, though, he is a man of strong convictions -- convictions that are sometimes stronger than his common sense. The lilt of his accent adds a bit of variety to the proceedings, and he comes across as one of the strongest players in the cast.

"The Crucible" is a well-written play, being given a dramatically effective production at the Lionheart Theatre Company in Norcross. For any lover of classic American drama, it's a worthwhile show to see. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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