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The Crucible

The Crucible
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: Arthur Miller
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 95
Pub. Date: 1982
ISBN-10: 0822202557
ISBN-13: 9780822202554
Cast Size: 10 female, 10 male

About the Play:

The Crucible was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

The Crucible has long been a favourite of acting teachers for female/male scenes.

The Crucible is a full-length drama by Arthur Miller. Set amidst the Salem witch trials, in which a group of girls accuse upstanding women in the town of witchcraft to divert suspicion from their own activities, The Crucible is a powerful political drama that still has relevance more than a half century after its initial publication. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

The Crucible is about a time in American history where the forces of justice bent to the crying plea of mass hysteria, executing innocents under the guise that they were witches. A small group of teenage girls in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts caught dancing in the woods are compelled to tell lies that Satan had invaded their bodies and forced them to participate in the rites and are obligated to name those involved. Thrown into the mix are greedy preachers and major landowners trying to steal others' land and a young farmer, his wife, and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes the wife's arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie – and it is here that the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is terrifyingly depicted. The farmer, instead of saving his wife, finds himself also accused of witchcraft and ultimately condemned with a host of others. Except, this parable of power and its abuse is not confined to the late 17th century. Writing at the height of the Red Scare just as the Hollywood blacklist was tearing apart the lives of many of his colleagues and peers, Arthur Miller drew a parallel between the political hysteria of the era of McCarthyism and the more literal witch-hunt of 1692, the memory of the violence, torture, and murder that was inflicted on some 60,000 people – 80% of them women – in the early modern period. A haunting examination of groupthink and mass hysteria in a rural community, The Crucible is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of our contemporary society. It is where we glean the term 'witch-hunt', used, and widely misused today.

The Crucible premiered in 1953 at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway and won the 1953 Tony Award for Best Play. This Miller classic has enjoyed five revivals on Broadway and is still enormously popular. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in repertory, middle, school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 10 female, 10 male

What people say:

"A powerful drama." — New York Times

"As high-school drama clubs and community theaters well know, it is hard to go wrong with The Crucible. What has been easy to forget, however, is how firmly, yet how gracefully, his sturdy words and warnings still hold the stage." — Los Angeles Times

"A drama of emotional power and impact ... Strongly written." — New York Post

About the Playwright:

Arthur Miller (1915-2005) is considered one of the great American playwrights. During the Depression, finances were scarce and he paid for his college tuition by working as a shipping clerk in a New York factory. He later wrote his first plays in college. With a career that spanned over 50 years, he wrote more than thirty plays that transformed American Theatre and proved to be both the conscience and redemption of the times. His probing dramas received many awards in his lifetime, including two Emmy awards and three Tony Awards for his plays, a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949, for Death of a Salesman.

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