Bede's Production of 'The Crucible' Bewitches Audiences
Earlier in November, this year’s Senior Production, of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, offered audiences a tour de force experience.
To relay the palpable terror, creeping dread and frantic paranoia, Bede’s English Teacher Mr Sealey enlisted two Lower Fifth (Year 10) pupils to review the performance…
On Thursday 17 November, Bede’s Lower Fifth students enjoyed an incredible opportunity: the chance to witness the words we have been studying in the classroom brought to vivid, anguished, screaming life by our peers in a professional-grade theatrical performance.
The matinée performance we attended took place in the Miles Studio Theatre within the school’s grounds, and featured actors and actresses from the First Year (Year 9) all the way up to the Upper Sixth (Year 13).
As the house lights dropped, the only source of light was a small, smouldering bonfire, making for a mysterious and eerie scene.
Then, yelping figures emerged from behind the cracked and warped wood of the Theatre Production Design team’s deceptive, enigmatic woodland set. Without any explanation, girls appeared and began to dance, sing and chant as if possessed. All in attendance were immediately entranced by this arcane sequence of events, and by the subsequent repulsions that then unfolded.
The manic, deranged atmosphere created by the actors and staging in this first scene did not stop, with tree-trunks turning to reveal a sick bed, then later the heart of the Proctor home, and after that a court, and a grimy prison cell.
Set during the Salem Witch Trials, the play explores how paranoia, pretense and petty revenge can play out in traumatic, awful ways. To emphasize the darkness of the story, the production's Director, Mrs Lewis, and her team in the Drama department,created authentically Puritan costumes. Dark, simple and plain, the clothing contrasted with the firework displays of acting that radiated from the young cast.
Of the many notable performances, the most potent came from Freddie Tuson. His descent, as a young-faced, cocksure John Proctor, saw a prideful deceiver transformed, through horror, into an honest martyr. His was the central and most moving element of the production, elevated by a sensitive, modest and heartfelt rendition of Elizabeth Proctor, John’s long-suffering wife, care of the ever-skillful Grace Stannard, who acted every inch his foil.
Elsewhere, Max Mason’s glowering, haughty Danforth was impressive to a point of effortlessness, and Trinity Gott and Elvis Abraham from the First Year, as Betty and Herrick respectively, showed great confidence and courage.
Indeed, all of the actors performed phenomenally, and, while this may be something we have all come to expect from a Bede’s production, the depth and range of talents on show ought to be recognized, celebrated, and shouted from the rooftops.
With evening performances across the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, well over a thousand people saw this year’s Senior Production, and those who did not missed out.
Considering all the talk of ‘witch hunts’ in the news, it is hard to imagine a more timely play for the school to have put on – or a more useful one, considering it is one of our GCSE English Literature set texts!