Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Witch Hunting: Then and Now

My posting schedule has been a little off lately, but this last skip was for a reason! Two weeks ago, I went to a panel discussion that centered on Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, which is also the show currently being performed by the SMC theatre department (and other awesome students). This panel looked at the history behind The Crucible, and is something I have been informed the college does periodically in connection with its performances. I hope they continue to do so; it was very informative and interesting!

Three professors from different departments spoke about, respectively, the witch trials in Salem, anti-communism sentiment in the 1950s, and today's Islamophobia. They then connected them to Arthur Miller and his play, which was actually written in response to the paranoia of the 1950s. I was most interested in the Islamophobia presentation, because that is the most relevant today (but because it is current, often less talked about), but all three made good points.

Then, last Friday (now comes the reasoning for my delayed posting) I had the pleasure of actually going and watching our student performance of The Crucible! I was concerned I would find it boring, having read the play in an English class and therefore already knowing what would happen (although the gist is fairly obvious anyway), but I was pulled into the actors' characters almost immediately. I did think that having only four or five scenes made the scenes rather long, but I have had that opinion about Miller for several years now; it has nothing to do with the performance.

 I was also very impressed by how well the actors' connected the story, as there was no pit orchestra. As a musician, I must confess to slightly egotistic opinion that a pit is necessary; clearly, I was wrong. I found myself caught up in the drama of the characters despite the lack of moody background music, to the point that I complained to a friend that I didn't like how so-and-so smirked every time he spoke, only to receive the reminder that that was part of the character. Evidently, I struggled keeping fiction and reality apart. 

If anyone is in the area next weekend, there are more performances coming up! I would highly recommend going, as it is very well done and worth the stiff legs that come with sitting in theater seats.

Stay tuned for an international update!

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