Last night, LSU Stage Society began their three-night run of Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible. As someone who knew little about the production before arriving other than its background concerning the Salem witch trials, and, without giving too much away, the show promises that no character is completely safe from ridicule in one way or another. Knowing next to nothing in advance was in this instance quite refreshing, as it required me to be completely engaged with what was occurring throughout, and I was able to be surprised at how different events transpired. The Crucible takes a historically controversial topic and explores it’s affects on a whole community in a dominantly serious tone – with room for some moments of humour – and in doing so captures not only the essence of the time, but the completely human approach to dealing with the strange events that occur. Hence, it’s ability to depict the complexities of relationships, highlighting instances of love and sacrifice as equally as it refuses to hold back in the depictions of pain and misery is undoubtedly impressive.
Something I particularly enjoyed about the production was the clever use of music. Not only was it used, as it traditionally is, to create certain atmospheres, but it was directly applied in collaboration with acting, much like in film. This allowed for different avenues of character development and the inspired use of a montage to depict key moments. In doing this, such key moments were enabled to have a deeper impact on the audience, and consequently left lasting questions in audience minds concerning what true justice is or should have been. However, this was only made possible through the strikingly believable performances from the cast, something not easily done in some cases due to the somewhat regular requirement for passionate argument in language long dead to the 21st century.
The show was cast well, as I am finding is consistently true with Stage Society productions, and was inclusive of a broad range of personalities. In every instance, the ways characters change over the course of the play is near seamless as each begins in one state of mind and over time converts to another. Despite some minor line slip-ups, each character relationship was presented in an understandable and authentic way with obvious commitment from actors to their roles, and thus they were deserving of their lengthy round of applause at the shows end.
If that’s not enough to draw you in, what makes The Crucible even more unique is the production’s layout, as the entire audience are seated at the same level as the actors, marking the edge of the stage in a square format. This allows people to gain a fully immersive experience and view everything up close, meaning that actors have to constantly remain in character throughout the entire run time and therefore have much less room for error. This aspect of the show gave it an edge in terms of realism and skill, especially as I would imagine being surrounded by a close-proximity audience is beyond nerve-wracking, as small details such as facial expressions and body language are much more important where they would normally be less visible. By staging the play in this way, entrances and exits of cast members are more diverse and a surround sound effect was created, with an obvious need for attention to detail in terms of precisely staging actors so each audience edge felt included in the production.
I’d say if you’re in need of something different after this long, seemingly never ending, exam period, then definitely give The Crucible a go!
To reserve a ticket to the show yourself for either 28th or 29th of January, email firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase on http://www.lsu.co.uk/society/stage/buytickets/. Tickets cost £5 NUS and £8 non-NUS, doors open at 7pm and the performance starts at 7:30pm. For additional information, check out their Facebook group.