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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Arts and Entertainment

A modern take
on a classic

Community School Players
perform Millerís ĎThe Crucibleí


By MICHAEL AMES
and DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writers

"Itís very a passionate feel, very strong," Director Fritz Brun said while describing the upcoming presentation of Arthur Millerís 1953 play, "The Crucible," at The Community School.

The searing drama is being presented by The Community School Players at the school theater, March 18 to 20, during Arts Festival Week.

Written by the seminal post-war American playwright, the play explores the 17th century Salem witch trials.

The Salem witch trials were a series of accusations spawned from religious fervor and mob mentality. These are the events that give us the term "witch hunt." The unjust trials ended with hundreds of people in jail, 14 women and five men hanged, and one suspected witch even tortured to death.

When the play was written in 1953 our country was in the throes of McCarthyism.

Responsible for blacklisting countless innocent Americans as Communist subversives, Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy symbolized what can happen when paranoia runs rampant, transcends a level of personal neurosis and becomes a collective illness.

"The Crucible" was widely understood as a metaphor for what was going on in the chambers of the American government as well as an archetypal human behavior pattern.

As soon as humans were able to assemble we learned not to trust the other. For these universal themes, Millerís play became an instant classic and was performed all over the world.

Now, "The Crucible" comes to The Community School Theater. The play features a large student cast, including Connor Wade as John Proctor and Carina Covella as Abigail, the young woman who begets the action in the play. Alice Bynum plays the pivotal role of Elizabeth Proctor.

"John Proctor is sort of one man caught between two women," Brun said. But thatís just the beginning of his troubles. Young easily persuadable girls in his town are soon accused of witchcraft and he is drawn into the fray, with disastrous results.

Footlight Dance Centre founder and instructor Hilarie Neely has choreographed an "opening scene with the girls in the forest dancing to conjure up the devil," Brun explained.

"This requires musical accompaniment; there is some underlying percussion."

Musical Director Dick Brown also directs hymn singing, something he is well versed in as the director of the St. Thomas Episcopal Choir in Ketchum and the Caritas Chorale.

But Brun is also staging the play in a very contemporary manner, rather than naturalistically.

"Iím staging it as a modern dance performance, on an open bare stage. We indicate a little bit, for an old man there might be a walking stick, for an old woman a shawl. Basically there are young, handsome people acting," Brun said.

"We donít paint a picture. By doing this we liberate it very much, itís more imaginative, a more theatrical performance style. We do it all over the theatre. Part of the play takes place not on stage, but all over the place. Itís not deep, deep dark, downbeat but rather like going to an opera. It becomes up lifting because of the very exiting performance style. Very big and rhythmical. The kids are very excited about it, they like doing it this way."

The play is staged on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, March 20, the play will be performed at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door and are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are also available at Chapter One bookstore in Ketchum and Read All About It in Hailey.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.





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