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Play review: Serious drama blazes in 'The Crucible'

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune The cast of “The Crucible” rehearse a courtroom scene during dress rehearsal presented by Coyote Drama Production and Thespian Troupe 8160 on Wednesday night. The play opened Thursday night with performances April 26, 27, 28, and 29 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Students and seniors 55 and up $5 and Adults $10 at the Coyote Arena Theatre at Madera High 200 S. L St.


“I forgot I was watching a play,” a woman sitting beside me commented after a final bow from the cast of “The Crucible” in the Coyote Arena Theatre on opening night last week.

The Tony Award-winning play by Arthur Miller offers an imagined glimpse into a few ordinary lives faced with the infamous witch trials of 1692 in colonial Massachusetts. More than 200 people in several towns were falsely accused of witchcraft by tween girls, which resulted in prison and, in some cases, torture and/or public execution.

Needless to say, passions burn on stage: jealousy, fear, pride, vengeance, despair and courage. One almost feels a voyeur.

Such intimacy in this drama is possible, thanks to a strong ensemble cast, which makes it difficult to single out individual actors. All bring life to a seemingly distant time period that, by play’s end, may not feel so far away after all.

Crucial roles remained, however, and Kayla Anderson (as Abigail Williams), Christopher Linares (as John Proctor) and Ben Wood (as the Rev. John Hale) fill theirs with clear and stirring emotion so necessary for the drama.

The minimal scenery and music is well done and effectively used to provide a sense of place for each scene.

As a Christian, I wondered how that might shape my appreciation for the story itself, in which Puritan faith is so central. But I could find no offense with the tale. In truth, its real core was not theology so much as the strengths and weakness of the human heart, so easily carried away by both. That, I think, is what makes it all so timeless.

Coyote Drama Productions and International Thespian Society Troupe 8160 accepted a weighty challenge in deciding to perform “The Crucible,” which has little glamour or obvious spectacle. But by doing so the cast shines all the more impressively through force of drama.

This is a performance worth watching.

The local production will be staged at 7:30 p.m. April 26-29 in the Coyote Arena Theatre at the rear side of the Madera High School cafeteria, 200 South L St. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

Tickets will be available at the door for adults at $10 and for students and those age 55 and older at $5. To reserve tickets, email James Gunn by clicking here.


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