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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Playing with magic

Have you ever wondered how it would feel to live in a different century? Have you ever dreamed about travelling to a time when witches were believed to exist? Then you should not miss Guilford College’s production of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.

Set in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, this play combines a mixture of diverse themes such as racism, prejudice and adultery that converge into a single matter: witchcraft.

The town’s reverend finds a group of girls dancing in the woods in the middle of the night around a fire while reciting incomprehensible words. The whole town starts to wonder whether Salem is a safe place and who should be the one to blame.

However, there is more to the story than just a clichéd witch-hunt.

“Originally, Arthur Miller wrote the play as a kind of metaphor about the McCarthy hearings in the 1950’s,” said director Jack Zerbe, professor of theatre studies and director of study abroad. “It’s amazing how relevant this idea of the witch-hunt still is.”

Although set mostly in a courtroom, the play, and this production in particular, is far from being dull.

“When you see it on stage there’s all the twists and turns happening and you get more involved in the characters,” said junior Nina Troy, who plays Abigail Williams.

Visual effects help to set the mood.

“It’s fun, fast-paced, but not hard to follow,” said sophomore Emily Haaksma, playing Mercy Lewis. “The costumes are really cool, and the lighting is really intense.”

Students had less than a month to get everything done.

“In three days of rehearsal, we were technically ahead of what we are in a semester after three weeks,” said Zerbe. “Putting together a play in three weeks is no small task.”

The same thought is shared by other people involved with the school’s production.

“In January term you don’t have classes or clubs or sports or other things to worry about, so you can really commit yourself to the show,” said first-year Juliana Avery, who works as stage manager.

This is also an opportunity for students who usually can’t be part of a play thanks to a busy schedule.

“The January term project is always a wonderful chance for people who feel that they don’t have the time during the regular semester,” said Theatre Studies professor David Hammond. “I love seeing students acting who I have not seen before.”

The engagement of the students and their will to work hard for the play would have not been possible without a strong figure to guide them through the obstacles.

“Jack is more involved in study abroad, so Jan-term is our only chance to act with him,” said Haaksma. “He brings a really positive energy to the rehearsal process and I really like his ambition for the show. We are lucky to have worked with him as a director over this experience.”

The audience can also expect a couple of special effects and surprises throughout the show.

“I don’t want to give anything away, but there are six different scenes in this play on one stage that doesn’t change. There are a lot of things that happen to change the environment,” said Zerbe.

“I’ve always heard how good Guilford’s plays are, how well-produced they are,” said senior Robert Van Pelt on opening night. “But I was actually very surprised, content, and happy with what I saw.”

If you regret your decision to not come to the show, do not fear. You can still see “The Crucible” from Feb. 5-7, at 8 p.m. in Sternberger Auditorioum in Founders Hall. Tickets will be on sale during lunchtime Monday through Friday and an hour before it starts.

“The Crucible” is a grand production, with a high-level cast, and an edge-of-the-seat kind of story. It is definitely worth seeing.

“This show has got scandal, family, accusations, witches; it’s just such a fun show to watch,” said Avery. “It makes you nervous and excited. You feel invested in what is happening and … What else are you going to do this weekend?”

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About the Contributor
Beatriz Caldas, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Beatriz's goal is to make sure that every person on campus has a voice, that every group is being represented, and that The Guilfordian becomes #1 in reporting Social Justice stories not only from Guilford, but from all around the globe. Beatriz comes from Brazil and is able to speak four languages.

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