by Lorie Lewis Ham
Last weekend was a weekend of contrasts for me-I saw the farcical comedy Noises Off in Reedley, and the very dark and serious play, The Crucible, in Visalia at the College of the Sequoias. Each was very enjoyable, and couldn’t be more different from each other.
The Crucible is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller and is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials. He is said to have written the play as an allegory for McCarthyism, and it is eerily relevant even now.
While the play is 2 hours and 45 minutes long including an intermission, it doesn’t feel long. The story is intense and complicated and keeps your attention. It is also dark and thought provoking, and at times chilling. The entire cast did a phenomenal job!
Standout performances included Chris Mangels, who truly made you hate Rev. Parris; Becka Cole as Abigail, who also brought her character to life with creepy perfection; Kami Hinds, who did an excellent job portraying the very confused and conflicted character of Mary Warren; and Brooke Rogers, who made Elizabeth Proctor feel so real, and was a stark contrast to most of the other characters with the quiet calm she maintained amidst the insanity. Thomas Nance provided just a bit of comic relief now and then as the older farmer Giles Corey who is obsessed with suing people-but his final scene showed the brave and more serious side to the character. I was also extremely impressed by Mason Garcia’s portrayal of John Proctor. I have seen him in several more comedic roles at the Reedley Opera House, which he does well, but in the role of John Proctor he has outdone himself. I had no idea he could take on such a difficult and dramatic role with such skill. The set added to the tone of the play, being in very somber colors, as were the costumes-which were more modern than the original setting–the girls costumes reminding me a bit of those in Spring Awakening. Kudos to the entire cast and crew.
If you want to see something that will move you and make you think-which to me is what good theatre is all about-don’t miss The Crucible, which plays through May 5 at COS, 915 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia, CA. Tickets are available online and at the door.
You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section. Also, watch for our new mystery podcast coming soon which will feature the voices of local actors.