Over a thousand audience members witnessed Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ at CH’s Theatre (30 November – 2 December) in a production that showcased the skills of a full double cast and crew of senior pupils. The theatre was adapted so that the audience surrounded the ‘in-the-round’ staging, making for an intimate and intense theatrical experience.
The cast was led admirably by Alexi Baramidze and Keenan Sayers as the protagonist John Proctor who fights to save his name against the Salem witch hunters. Throughout the cast there were stellar performances and pupils really did portray the gravity of the situation through their in-depth characterisation and command of the space. Mimi Galban Allwright and Eli Thomas as Reverend Hale and Imani Tokpanoude and Sope Odusote as Danforth certainly ‘owned the space’ in their particular performances.
This was a tense performance, with the use of dramatic pause and in-role responses helping to paint a believable picture of the complex relationships so expertly constructed by Miller.
Director John Johnson was impressed with the maturity of the cast: “This is a long, dramatic play which Miller himself felt could be shorter! The pupils tackled the wordy text with terrific maturity and a commitment to telling the story of the victims of the Salem witch trials. They really ‘got it’ and I enjoyed the performance on many levels.”
Certainly there were many levels to this particular production. The opening video and live feed footage at the end of the performance were projected on to the barn structure that hung ominously over the heads of the audience. The use of a live pupil gospel choir and clarinet solo beautifully created a chilling atmosphere and the sudden fall and swing of the nooses at the end reminded the audience of the death and destruction experienced by the victims of Salem. This was a well-staged version of a classic play and showed the depth in talent of pupils involved in the performing arts at CH.