“The Crucible” casts a spell on East campus

By James Tutten
jtutten@valenciavoice.com

Valencia Character Company is currently presenting Arthor Miller’s play “The Crucible” at Valencia’s East campus. The powerful Tony award-winning story, a canon of American theatre, is portrayed with intense emotions and new innovations not typically seen in this production in the past.

John DiDonna, the play’s director, said, “We’re doing a very visceral production with dynamic subject matter based on true events. It’s fast-paced. The emotions run high. We even had a few audience members actually crying out in the hallways.”

The most notable addition are the “Afflicted Girls of Salem” who act as a Greek chorus to the bewitched actresses’ performances. Though often laying quietly next to the stage, they become loud and interactive during key scenes, such as the girl’s confessions of their devotion to God and accusations of witchcraft.

Kristin Abel, the production’s technical director, said, “I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback. Audience members are amazed at the staging and fresh interpretation of the script.”

Shannon McGough, the lead actress playing Abigail Williams, is a theater major at Valencia. McGough said, “People have been getting very emotional during the show. I’ve seen a women with tissues, and last night a girl sitting in front of me was grabbing onto her boyfriend’s arm.”

Lead actor Cory Boughton, who plays the conflicted John Proctor, is a UCF student who performs with several other theater groups in the area. Boughton said, “People use the word intense. I like to think of the play as being visceral, with the added emotional level not typically seen in this play.”

Laura Mejia, who studies theater at Valencia’s Osceola campus, said, “I love the intensity of this play, and the afflicted girls and other actors help me feel very connected to the performance.”

More than 50 students put in over 500 man-hours building the stage which fills a majority of the relatively small Black Box Theater. This is done to create a strong connection between the audience and the action taking place on stage. Ambient sounds and dynamic lighting are used throughout the entire production. to enhance the emotional atmosphere.

The subject matter dealing with mass hysteria, infidelities, government intrusion on personal liberties,and false accusations are brilliantly portrayed with incredible authentication. These aspects of human nature are still a factor in modern society, and can teach valuable lessons for the future.

The last run of “The Crucible” will be Feb. 23-27 in the Black Box Theater at Valencia’s East campus. Performances have been selling out, so to ensure seats contact the Box Office at (407)-582-2900, and information about other shows can be found at http://www.valenciacc.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/