BHS Performing Arts Brings Miller’s Shocking “The Crucible” to the Stage

All photos courtesy 4 Sons Photography

Recently, I had the pleasure of seeing one of Arthur Miller’s most prominent plays, “The Crucible,” performed by Brewster High School’s very own students November 3rd, 4th, and 5th. At a first glance, the stage looked like a regular school theater, but as the lights dimmed at the strike of 7:00 PM, the performance space transformed, as if you were back in the Salem Witch Trials during the late 1600s.

The daunting production begins in the house of Reverend Samuel Parris (sophomore Zachary Simmons), whose daughter, Betty (junior Ivelisse Arocho), lies unconscious in her bed upstairs. Before such unfortunate events occur, Parris discovered Betty, his niece Abigail (sophomore Arianna Arocho), and enslaved Tituba (sophomore Ariana Vernile Marks), from Barbados, dancing in the forest outside of Salem at midnight. After witnessing the strange dancing in the ominous land, Betty falls into a coma. Rumors start to spread throughout the town regarding witchcraft, resulting in Parris to call for help from John Hale (junior Jarrid Bryggman), who is an expert on witchcraft and its sinister pleasures. As black magic fills the ears of the town, accusations begin to be made, starting with Abigail, the ringleader of the “afflicted” group of young girls. This leads to John Proctor (senior Matthew Kilman), a local farmer, offering his concerns to Abigail. Abigail was John’s ex-servant, whom he had an affair with and later was confronted by John’s wife, Elizabeth Proctor (sophomore Katherine Sullivan). After being fired by Mrs. Proctor, and being replaced by a new servant, Mary Warren (sophomore Maeve Looby), Abigail seeks revenge. In order to avoid the severe consequences for practicing witchcraft, committing adultery, and even attempting murder when she plots Elizabeth’s death, Abigail removes the spotlight from herself by accusing others of witchcraft. These extreme measures of survival soon become Abigail’s path to power, and eventually leads many innocent people to conviction, and even death.

Director of the play, Alex Siriani, definitely knows a thing or two when it comes to the world of drama. The performance of the different characters portrayed in the play were absolutely amazing. Even the smaller roles were proved to be larger at times between the two acts. An example of this brilliant acting was during the first act with Ivelisse Arocho, who portrayed Betty Parris. Arocho sent chills down my back as she screamed her heart out. She didn’t just play the role of possessed, unconscious Betty, but truly embodied the character in the first act. Hairs on the back of my neck stood up, showing how much power Arocho had over the audience. Along with Arocho’s impeccable acting, Kathrine Sullivan, who had a pivotal role in the play, also exceeded my expectations. As most plays tend to be, I was sure that “The Crucible” was going to be boring, especially with a 2-hour run time. However, Sullivan changed my perception of the play real quick with her esteemed acting. Her facial expressions, body language, and tone was all that had to sell me. Similar to Arocho, she was able to internalize the role of Elizabeth Proctor. Not once did Sullivan break character, verbally or physically, impressing not just me, but almost the entire audience.

Along with the outstanding acting, the crew did an excellent job of preparing the stage for the actors and did a wonderful job with the set, especially the terrific lighting. Another eye-catching accomplishment is the admirable hair and makeup, completed by Mia Irizarry and Devlin Vaughan, who were able to visually transform the actors into their characters from the 17th century. Aside from the many successes that the crew were able to pull off, there were some hiccups regarding the mics, specifically cutting in and out. Nonetheless, nothing was done to take away from the success of the crew and cast on their amazing three-night performance. As I watched “The Crucible” for the very first time, I was left with a very good first impression, and thank the Brewster Performing Arts Center for all of their hard work over the past month. Can’t wait to see this spring’s production of the musical!