POWELL, Wyo. - The repercussions of fear and cultural polarization are examined on stage in “The Crucible,” performed Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17, in the Nelson Performing Arts Center at Northwest College.
The curtains rise at 7 p.m. on this community theater production directed by Fred Ebert, an instructor in speech communications and forensics at NWC.
Ebert said Arthur Miller’s 1952 classic dramatization of the 17th century Salem witch trials was written as an allegory of McCarthyism, but the human struggle it portrays is timeless.
“This play,” Ebert said, “examines the mantra ‘You’re either with us or you’re against us.’ It helps us see that when you live with a polarizing social philosophy, you lose your choice, your freedom. When you only look at black and white and not the rest of the gradient, you lose the big picture.
“The vehicle of the play is a real witch hunt. Largely between good and evil. This witch hunt exists in all of us. It’s a constant struggle to be open to that which we don’t understand. As humans, unfortunately, we tend to make stuff up rather than look at the truth.”
Ebert said that in the McCarthy hearings and the Salem witch trials, “The truth was evident. It was there, but people chose to follow their fear rather than see the truth. The lessons from these incidents apply not only to American history, but also to recent events in our society.
“Now more than ever, Americans need to deal with fears that have grabbed hold of our society. Fear is dissipated by education and acceptance. ‘The Crucible’ illustrates for us the harm that comes from self-imposed rigidity.”
Major roles in the Northwest production are given by Brenton Nuttall of Byron who plays John Proctor, and from Powell: Sierra Hernandez as Abigail Williams, Jessica Dalke as Elizabeth Proctor, and Scott Staudt as Reverend Parris.
“The Crucible” is produced by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service.
Admission is $5. Tickets will be discounted $1 for those who bring canned goods to donate to local food pantries.