Published by L.A. Theatre Works on October 1, 2001
Length: 1 hour and 59 minutes
Genres: Classics, Historical Fiction
Arthur Miller's classic play about the with-hunts and trials in 17th century Salem is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially-sanctioned violence. Written in 1952, The Crucible famously mirrors the anti-communist hysteria that held the United States in its grip. Directed by Martin Jenkins.
A L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Richard Dreyfuss, Stacy Keach, Irene Arranga, Rene Auberjonois, Ed Begley, Jr, Georgia Brown, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Ann Hearn, Carol Kane, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Marian Mercer, Franklyn Seales, Madolyn Smith, Joe Spano and Michael York
I never actually read this in school; however, I was very familiar with the storyline itself. The Crucible. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said?
This story was based on historical people and real events and was a very authentic depiction of paranoid and hysterical people in a tiny village. Despite knowing this was mostly factual, it was still hard to imagine such an unfortunate situation occurring. This village had laws established but it blew me away how everything was handled. These people were accused of crimes that many of them were innocent of yet they were denied a fair trial and the accusers were believed 100%. This is a prime example of what happens when there are gaps in due process and when local governments infringe on an individual’s civil liberties: chaos.
The scene that I will forever remember was where they speak about Giles Corey and the torture he suffered through. Giles had been one of the individuals accused of witchcraft (falsely) but he refuses to admit guilt or innocence as he is educated in the law. The law at the time stated that anyone who refused to enter a plea could not be tried. To force a plea, the townsfolk proceeded to pile large stones on top of his body in an attempt to get him to admit to his ‘crimes’.
At the end of the audiobook I listened to there was an interesting tidbit regarding what followed in future years that I was unaware of.
‘Twenty years after the last hanging, the government awarded compensation to the victims still living and to the families of the dead. However, some people were still unwilling to admit their total guilt. The town was still divided into factions for some of those compensated by the government were not victims at all, but informers.’