In 1692, two girls spread a rumor that would induce an event known today as the The Salem Witch Trials. Over 200 years later, playwright Arthur Miller used this history to develop a dark and dramatic story—“The Crucible.”
The Menomonie Theater Guild has recently brought to light the intensities of dark and serious dramas. After the controversy over “Next to Normal,” last year’s fall musical, the organization wasn’t stopping there. Katie Shay, director of this year’s fall production of The Crucible, is ready to enact history.
The production reflects the accuracy of The Salem Witch Trials. Children had spread rumors of witchcraft seeking revenge. Stevi York, the female lead playing Elizabeth Proctor, is one of the many accused in the narrative.
“To think that this really happened, this mass hysteria, these people being accused and dying because of a bunch of crazy little girls,” said York. “It’s intense.”
Because the subject matter encompasses a dark history, Shay is determined to keep the play devoid of absurdity. Each actor and actress has fully embraced the fear in the production, making the stage as real as history itself.
“The secrets that the village has and the resentments that go back for generations among these families all are brought to light,” added Shay. “It’s neighbor against neighbor and family member against family member, and that was very much true to the times.”
It is also true to our times. Though the production may be labeled as “too dark,” the message holds strong to societal problems faced today. Accusation and untrustworthy neighbors and family members are fears that continues to thrive in modern times.
The Salem Witch trials happened. It is a part of our dark, American history, and caused the murder of over 90 people accused of witchcraft.
“This was real,” finished Shay.
The performances are Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students/seniors. Oct. 21 is opening night and will feature an event called “The Witching Hour” before and after in the downstairs bar of the theater.