Rehearsals are underway for the upcoming Hayes High School October production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”
Since the 20-member cast was announced at the start of September, students has been working every day after school to memorize the show, learn the blocking, and bring the story to life.
The story is set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Salem Witch Trials in the 1690s, which Maddie Hatton, who plays Abigail Williams, says is still relevant today.
“It’s a double meaning,” Hatton said. “In this time period people were like ‘she’s a witch’ if they didn’t like them, but when it was written in the 1950s, Arthur Miller was inspired by the Red Scare and (people accusing others of being communists.) Today. we don’t see witchcraft or communism, but I still think it’s a message to be familiar with.”
Hatton, a senior, said this is her fourth play at Hayes, and she’s excited to do a dramatic role after doing comedies for the last few shows.
“It’s just so different for me,” Hatton said. “Abigail is completely out of my comfort zone and that’s why I love it. It’s a deep show. It’s sort of a thriller. (I’m looking forward to) all of it. Just being in the moment up on stage. Come see the show!”
Hailey Wright, a junior playing Elizabeth Proctor, agreed, adding she’s looking forward to the dramatics of the show.
“It’s the first real big drama that the school has done for a long time,” Wright said. “While comedies are great and fantastic, and I love them, there’s something so enriching about hardcore drama; theatrical screaming, crying, yelling, pointing fingers, the ideas of hanging people for witchcraft. It’s bizarre and exciting, but it’s part of our history.”
Wright said the story feels so relatable and modern, because the real Salem Witch Trials only happened a few hundred years ago.
“It’s such a big part of America’s history, and it’s crazy that these kinds of things happened and that it’s really something that went on just a short while ago,” Wright said. “It’s crazy to think of how tragic the story was.”
Wright said she’s excited to play a role as well-known and dynamic as Elizabeth Proctor.
“I love her. I think her life is really sad,” Wright said. “She knew her husband had an affair with a 17-year-old … She’s still so hurt, back then you really couldn’t get a divorce, you were stuck. It’s really interesting to figure out this cold marriage that turns into something beautiful by the end. It’s fun to get my own spin on everything and make that character my own.”
Rena Ouyang, a junior, added she’s excited to play her character, Mary Warren.
“She’s this 18-year-old girl and she’s really weak minded. She gives into peer pressure, which plays a big role in the turn out of the play,” Ouyang said. “Her personality really shapes the outcome of the play. It’s different from myself, because I try to do the right thing all the time, no matter what. I don’t give into peer pressure … which is why she acts the way she does. She tries to do the right thing, but she can’t really stand up for herself.”
Ouyang said juniors are also reading “The Crucible” in class this year.
Junior Aidan Ferguson said he plays John Proctor, and the play will be his first major role at Hayes.
“I think the drama side is the more interesting side of characterization. It’s a new experience for me,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the show is fun but also challenging because of the time period it’s set in.
“Since it’s a period piece, there’s a lot of Old English aspects that a lot of the audience won’t be familiar with and I’m not familiar with so that’s going to be a challenge,” Ferguson said. “It’s one of the those productions that has not only the literal meaning, but it has meanings the audience can infer that are still relevant today.”
Jake Stein, a sophomore, said he hasn’t done theater in a while and is excited for the challenge of the dramatic role of Deputy Gov. Thomas Danforth.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a play,” Stein said. “Getting back up on stage has been good for me. The role itself is something I have to work on. I’ve usually played happier roles, so getting to the more serious side of it is a lot of work, but once I put in the work, everything will pay off. I’m looking forward to getting to work with everybody. We all have a good bond with each other, so getting to see that chemistry on stage, during the show, is really exciting.”
The cast will perform the show on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door only and seating is general admission. Ticket prices are $9 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.