‘Crucible’ opens this weekend

Alexis Schares, Emma Cryer, Amara Lytle, Anastasia Davidson and Kallista Mohl scream in horror as they run through this weekend’s show. The protagonists of the show, Dalton Blackford and Mohl share an emotional scene. Katherine Lawson reaches out as she accepts her fate.

A tale of the Salem witch trials will be told on the Clare Stanard stage on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Chosen by director Michelle Rathe, “The Crucible” is a story that revolves around the character John Proctor, who is the protagonist, his wife Elizabeth, and the antagonist, Abigail Williams, as she leads a group of young women in Salem, Mass., accusing other people in the village of witchcraft. 

It’s a story that reveals secrets and long-harbored grudges, and it explores societal themes of justice, deceit and responsibility. Rehearsals have been ongoing since December, with the cast and crew hard at work to get ready for performances. 

Senior Dalton Blackford, who has been heavily involved in the theater throughout his high school career, plays the role of John Proctor. 

“The production is coming along well. Lots of work has gone into production lately, with lots of fine-tuning, so we’re all super excited to bring it alive for our audience.”

Sophomore Ella Stineman also is looking forward to sharing the hard work with audiences this upcoming weekend. “Production is going great. It’s certainly coming along, especially with it being show week. We’re working out all the little quirks in the show to have smooth and successful nights.”

Senior Shelby Conditt plays the role of Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of John Proctor, and spent a good amount of time preparing to play the role. “Elizabeth is a very complex character because she goes through a lot of different emotions. It provides a good challenge to play those emotions and be able to switch between them,” Conditt said. “To prepare, I watched the movie version and read through the script. Once I got the part, I tried to do some character digging to see what she wants in each scene.”

Playing one of the lead roles as John Proctor, Blackford carries a heavy amount of responsibility throughout the show. “I like playing my character because he is always in the middle of all the action. He has some bad sides, but in the end he tries to redeem himself and save everyone else,” Blackford said. “I personally prepared for my role by just listening to the advice of others and lots of repetition of my lines. I don’t have any special warm activities or really any way I get into the mind of my character. I just roll with what the directors tell me and try to grow from there.”

The show navigates through some intense scenes that require direct focus throughout all rehearsals. “It’s a high intensity play with lots of accusations and problems to be solved,” Blackford said. “A typical rehearsal is usually us starting the play and running through it. Then one we’ll all go back and work trouble spots the directors notice.”

As a member of the ensemble, Stineman encountered the difficult subject matter through the help of castmates and directors. “I’m no particular character, but I’m part of the group of women that accused various other women of witchcraft. The biggest scene for this ensemble is in Act Two where it’s very emotional and the girls have to scream and cry. I really like doing this scene,” Stineman said. 

Some other spots in the show required special attention as well, which prolonged the rehearsal process as the cast tried to nail every final detail down before performance time. “In the very beginning of the show, there is a dance. We had to re-choreograph this dance twice, and that was an adventure for this ensemble, but I think it made us stronger,” Stineman said. “We had a lot of tips from our directors on how to ugly cry. It was fun. I’m really excited to perform for an audience this Friday and Saturday.”

After spending so much time together in rehearsal throughout the last couple of months, the cast and crew formed a special bond that they use to tell the story. “Everyone is working hard this last week to clean everything up and make it the best show that we can,” Conditt said. “Everyone in the cast is super loving and supportive. The community there is great.”

Although it is only her first year in the theater department, Stineman said that she also sees how important the sense of camaraderie is to a show. “Our cast is like one big family. We all care about each other, and it’s a good environment for me. We all share endless laughs and good times every day that I can go back and see again,” Stineman said. 

Rounding out his last year in the theater department, Blackford agreed with Stineman and Conditt and said that the dynamic between cast members lends itself to a successful show. “The cast interaction is great. Being in theater can be compared to having a whole second family. We’re always there to support each other and grow together,” Blackford said. “The cast works wonderfully together, knowing we need each other to succeed.”

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