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February 20, 1985 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-20

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Wednesday, February 20; 1985 Page 5

The Crucible'

stages gripping hysteria

By Jeffrey Seller
NGROSSED IN fits of hysteria,
rage, and delirious visions, a
group of adolescent girls occupy a wit-
ness stand, indicting for witchcraft the
respectable members of their com-
munity. The inquisitions for which
these girls testify are none other than
the Salem witchtrials of 1692. These
trials, the backdrop for Arthur Miller's
The Cricible, which opens Wednesday
at the Power Center, are
manifestations of the guilt, conflict, and
discontent which infected the
puritanical society of the small,
Massachusetts town.
"The trials are an inevitable release
for conflict," says Gavin Cameron-
Webb, director of the play. "If this
society was harmonious, the trials
wouldn't happen. But this society is
not a happy place, it's very harsh. It is a
society where softness is corrupt, and
evil."
"They're so strict-if they're not
working, they're sinning," comments
Ann Beck, who plays one of the young
}girls in the play.
Indeed, the strickness and harshness
of the puritanical society provides the
impetus for the impending crisis. What
begins as a clandestine, moonlit dance
in the forest for the group of girls
develops into a scandalous witch's

ceremony that snowballs into an uncon-
trollable crisis, stretching its arms to
affect everyone in the community.
Suddenly, witchcraft becomes the
society's scapegoat for conflict, guilt,
and discontent, and the girls, to save
themselves, indict dozens of women
from the community.
"It seems to work for the girls," says.
Kathie Kinzel, who plays the youngest
of them. "Suddenly the adults are being
nice to them."
"It gives them an importance they've
never had or even expected to have,"
adds Beck. "And it gets rid of a lot of
the undesirable people in the
society-drunks, bag ladies. Nobody
cares about them, they don't matter.
But the society breaks down when (the
hysteria) reaches those with good
souls, thosewho are honorable."
"It doesn't seem fair that these girls
have such power over others," adds
Kinzel, "but they have the support of
the adults-adult hatred feeds them."
Indeed, for the adults, the trial is a
purging of their own sins. "They want
witchcraft," says Webb, "to prove
where all this discontent has come from
in the society."
That the trials reach the dimensions
they do is a reflection of the excessive
self-repressiveness of the community.

The magnitude of their hysteria is
reflected by their excessive stringency,
strictness, and value system.
"The society behaves true to form
right down to the end of the play,"
asserts Webb.
"Arther Miller is showing how people
not provided with ample opportunity to
let out emotions like anger and resen-
tment will go to extremes to protect
their values, and their dignity," says
Julianne Bernstein, who plays another
young girl in the play.
Through its themes of repression,
both social and political, extremism,
and mass hysteria with its uncon-
trollable consequences, the play, which
was written in response to the famous
McCarthy hearings-those political and
social inquistions that invaded our own
society in the 1950s-still maintains its
relevance in today's society, assert
several cast members.
The Crucible is presented by the
University Players of the Professional
Theatre Program, and will be staged
February 20-24 at the Power Center.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets can be ob-
tained at the PTP Box Office in the
Michigan League, or at the door for
$3.00-$5.00. For more information call
764-0450.
proves I
Isaacson's "Three of Whom" presented
the lives of three supposedly very dif-
ferent charcters (a congressman, a
professional pitcher, and a convict)
within some tremendously disturbing
parallels.
The remaining contribution by Fram-
ji Minwalla, "Freeze Frame", was
saying something, but I am at a loss to
say what. The play followed a very
unique format in which the characters
traveled around the stage in darkness
with spotlights periodically
illuminating them in frozen positions.
But the actors made too much noise
running about the stage and it wasn't

Student theatre

Three cast memibers of The Crucible are shown here in their puritanical garb. The show opens Wednesday night at the
Power Center.
audable

By Kathleen Haviland
MIINDLESS, mediocre entertain-
ment can be found anywhere you
look-just turn oi prime time TV, read
your favorite tabloid, or flip on the Top
40 radio stations. Entertainment that
makes you think, entertainment that
questions is a much rarer commodity.
Street Light Theater's production of
F Wendy's Vegetable of Confusion was
one of these beacons of hope. Six in-
dividual student-authored plays
-brought to life the questions any person
has, once he or she begins to contem-
plate what is going on in our society.
The topics staged ranged from the
saturation of society by television, to
yuppies carrying the success ethic
murderously far, and to that comfor-
ting Christian concept that God will
solve your problems as long as you
have faith. While each of the plays was
a unique creation there was a very
disconcerting aura surrounding all of
them. No aspect of one's socialized
beliefs was left untouched.
Michael Rosenblum's "Tale of the
Tennis Hero and the Criminal Mystic"
revolved around a media-hyped tennis
pro whose career and mental health are
jeopardized by a fizzling backhand. The

pro turns in desperation to the mystic
for a solution only to discover that the
mystic is powerless. Rick Boike's
"Blind Faith" showed a woman who
believes that her faith in God will
protect her failing eyesight-the
woman went blind. John Shaw's
"Gargoyles, A Valentine Play" con-
trasted young naive love to a harsh and
terrifyingly disillusioned adult
relationship. Terry Cunningham's and
Danny Thompson's "The Desires of
Desiree" portrayed a Mary Kay
saleswoman who murders her way to
the top (the presidency of the United
States) in the name of success. David

dark enough for their movements to be
hidden. Consequently, I had trouble
focusing on the intended meaning of
their various illuminated moments.
Each of the plays delved into an in-
credible amount of material, to the
point where I often got depressed by the
barrage of societal attacks but what
was important was that the points
which the playwrights presented were
all too true. And this is what made the
evening such an enjoyable one-the
proof that not all the students are
becoming the conforming, conservative
sheep the media would have us believe.
STOP BLUSHING
NERVOUS STUTTERING &
INSECURITIES
Shyness, stress, poor memory, or bad
habits, fear of exams, etc. will be elim-
inated with the LEON HARDT METHOD, founded in Ger-
many in 1932. Send $1 cash or stamps for brochure:
LEON HARDT (MD), PO Box 42905, Tucson, AZ 85733

Arthur Miller's

I

I

T
The Power Center

1

The
'Crucible

February 20-23, 8:00 pm
February 24, 2:00 pm

I

' The Professional Theatre Program
Ticket Office: (313) 764-0450
U-M Department of Theatre and Drama

The Campus Copy Shop

COPIES
ENLARGEMENTS
BINDING

" REDUCTIONS *
" PASSPORT PHOTOS
" AND MUCH MORE

"

Directed by Gavin Cameron-Webb With Patrid Boyette and Erik Fredricksen

Open 7 days a week/Mon.-Thur. till midnight.
540 E. LIBERTY ST. 761-4539
Corner of Maynard and Liberty

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UNITED
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