CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. >> In 1952, as playwright Arthur Miller and his friends were being hauled onto Capitol Hill to be investigated during the Red Scare of Communism - and many under pressure named names to Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee - Miller's imagination turned to a similarly crazed time in our history, the Salem Witch Trials, to try and explain their contemporary confusion. As McCarthy's hearings blazed on, The Crucible premiered on Broadway, reflecting a mirror to this 1950's paranoid craze and yet set in a faraway corner of our American history. The year was 1692 and the people of Salem, Massachusetts had no idea that they would become the focus of countless books, research articles, and performance pieces for hundreds of years to come. Perhaps no piece has reached the fame and provoked continued discussion about what really happened to cause "witch trials" quite like Arthur Miller's American masterpiece. As we mount this play for the first time in over a decade, Hubbard Hall is thrilled to welcome back Jeannine Haas to the Hall to direct, having previously performed in An Iliad and Parallel Lives and having directed Of Mice and Men, Twelfth Night, and Amadeus. Just as with Of Mice and Men two years ago, Hubbard Hall is also proud to produce this American classic even as a high profile revival hits Broadway. But instead of $250 and more per seat, the Hall is proud to offer tickets for no more than $25 each.
The Crucible opens with Reverend Parris, played by Ron Komora, praying at the bedside of his daughter Betty (local Abby Maher making her Hubbard Hall Mainstage debut) who seems to be afflicted with a bizarre illness for which the only accepted explanation seems to suggest witchcraft. Fear grips the community and neighbor turns against neighbor as all are driven to hysterics and accusations are made. The town is torn apart as every word of gossip and every deviation from a societal standard seals the fates of those accused.
Miller's warning to be cautious about believing false accusations about others, or the assumption that someone else is "evil" when we do not understand their background or behavior, is a lesson taken to heart by the production team. Executive and Artistic Director David Snider says about choosing this piece, "Daily we're now hearing a debate, at the level of our presidential campaigns, about establishing religious litmus tests on who is or is not American, on who should or should not be allowed into our country, and on who is or who is not "our enemy." This classic play shows us another time in our own history when we judged our neighbors based on their beliefs, and on the smallest "infractions" of their time, from not knowing your commandments by heart to being a strong-willed and respected woman in your society. It's good, I think, in this age of Donald J. Trump, to be reminded of the dangers of this kind of thinking and that, from our own history with the Salem Witch Trials, Joe McCarthy, and the Red Scare, we Americans really ought to know better by now. When I chose this play last year I knew it'd be timely. I'm frankly shocked at just how timely it's turning out to be. It's a play for every one – and especially every student - to see. To remind us where we've been as a country and where we never want to return."
The cast includes: Equity Actors Ron Komora as Reverend Parris and Erin Ouellette as Elizabeth Proctor. David Snider as John Proctor, Catherine Seeley as Abigail Williams, Digby Baker-Porazinski as Reverend Hale, Lia Russell-Self as Tituba and Danforth, Adam Shulman as Judge Hathorne, Kristoffer Ross as Ezekiel Cheever, Rob Forgett and Kyra Fitzgerald as the Putnams, David and Deb Borthwick as the Nurses, and Chris Barlow as Giles Corey. The young ladies whose testimonies sealed the fate of 20 people are played by Abby Maher as Betty Parris, Christiana Roewer as Mary Warren, Audrey Roosevelt as Mercy Lewis, Leila Bruske as Susanna Wolcott, Delaney Hill, and Sarah Burke.
The Crucible is directed by Jeannine Haas, with lights and projections by Calvin Anderson, costumes by Sherry Recinella, stage managed by Kate Johnson, and scenic design and technical direction from Benjie White.
Performances are April 16 – May 5, Fridays at 8 p.m, Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. with a special Opening Night Dinner hosted by the Round House Bakery Café on April 16 at 6 p.m. This dinner includes: Phyllo kisses with assorted fillings, Spring Watercress Salad, Braised Salmon, Quinoa pilaf, Sesame Kale, Cream Puffs, and Coffee or Tea. Reservations for dinner must be made by April 12. Tickets for dinner and the Opening Night Performance are $65 (Dinner Only is $45). Tickets without the opening night dinner are $25 General Admission or $10 for Students and are available online at hubbardhall.org, at the door, or by calling the Hubbard Hall Box Office at 518-677-2495.
Due to the seating arrangement, there is no late seating for The Crucible, so please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to curtain.
Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education, located in a renovated 1878 rural opera house and adjacent former freight yard complex, is a community arts center dedicated to bringing the best of the arts to the region with year-round theater, music and dance performances and classes and workshops for all ages and skill levels. Hubbard Hall is located at 25 East Main Street in Cambridge. For more information on this and all Hubbard Hall programs, or to purchase tickets, register for classes, make a donation and/or become a Hubbard Hall Pass carrier please visit www.hubbardhall.org or call 518-677-2495.