The Crucible at Olney Theatre Center
TIMELY REVIVAL OF THE CRUCIBLE SET TO OPEN
In the age of Trump and #MeToo, classic drama seeks new understandings through timeless language
Olney Theatre Center brings Arthur Miller's The Crucible directed by Eleanor Holdridge (Fickle: A Fancy French Farce, Hay Fever, I and You) to the Mainstage April 18 - May 20, 2018. Invited press performance is Saturday, April 21 at 8:00 pm.
An all-star ensemble of 19 actors is led by Olney favorites: Chris Genebach (My Fair Lady) as John Proctor, Rachel Zampelli (Evita, Annie) as Elizabeth Proctor, Dani Stoller (The Diary of Anne Frank) as Abigail, Michael Russotto (Bakersfield Mist) as Reverend Parris, Jonathan Atkinson (Evita) as Ezekiel Cheever, Bolton Marsh (Neville's Island) as Thomas Putnam, Brigid Cleary (The Diary of Anne Frank), as Rebecca Nurse and Paul Morella (A Christmas Carol) as Danforth. Making his Olney Theatre Center debut is Scott Parkinson (Shakespeare Theatre Company's Measure for Measure) as Reverend Hale. Guadalupe Campos (Tour 68) and Jessica Lefkow (Tour 37) are alumni of National Players making their Olney Theatre Mainstage debuts as Mercy Lewis and Ann Good respectively. Along with Morella (Tour 30) and Cleary (Tour 29) that represents a season-high for National Player alumni in Mainstage productions. Movement for the production will be choreographed by Kelly Crandall d'Amboise.
The sixth show of Olney Theatre's 2017-18 Season arrives at a moment when the President is regularly tweeting out, "WITCH HUNT!"1 and the #MeToo movement has provoked a reckoning about issues of power, gender, who gets to be believed and how quickly reputations can be indelibly sullied. Says director Eleanor Holdridge, "Miller's play still pulses with life and truth, and even now, there's something of the moment about it. A play for today. Butting up against each other, the characters strive for a sense of themselves within this closed world: John Proctor, striving to atone for a great wrong, Abigail Williams and the girls of the town attempting to find agency, power, and sexual freedom in a world which denies them these basic things, Elizabeth Proctor struggling to forgive and forge a strong marriage, even while she abides her idea of what a wife is, and finally Reverend Hale, who believes that his learning and education can find the absolute truth. But anything these characters say can be used against them-anything they do is subject to judgment and the severest of repercussions. Today, I think that we too live on the edge of an abyss. A statement, a video, a rumor, can become the means for our own irrevocable disgrace; a post on social media or murmur of doubt can rain destruction on someone else."
Holdridge also acknowledges, "It's also interesting and challenging to look at this play through the prism of the #MeToo debate. Arthur Miller wrote the play in response to the House Un-American Committee subpoenas and perhaps to his own budding adulterous relationship with Marilyn Monroe. A plot point once unquestioned-a 35+ year old man having an affair with his 17 year old servant-suddenly becomes highly charged. How do I as a director, honor the incredibly beautiful text and strong storytelling of the playwright and still navigate the pitfalls of a worldview which can no longer be tolerated? I'm not sure yet, but I think my lifeline is Miller's deep understanding of human nature, his deep understanding that everyone is flawed and that there is no fundamental right and wrong to make decision-making easy."
Rounding out the cast is Dylan Fleming as Marshal Herrick, Craig MacDonald as Giles Corey, Lilian Oben as Tituba, Yakima Rich as Susanna Walcott, Miranda Rizzolo as Mary Warren and Shpend Xani as Judge Hathorne. Caroline and Mia Rilette will alternate in the role of Betty Parris.
Completing the creative team in addition to Holdridge and d'Amboise are scenic designer Andrew Cohen, costume designer Sarah Cubbage assisted by Kateri Kuhn, lighting designer Nancy Schertler, sound design by Patrick Calhoun assisted by Kristin Hamby. Evan Casey serves as assistant director and the understudy for Danforth. The production stage manager is John Keith Hall.
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge
April 18 - May 20, 2018
Press Opening: Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Regular performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8:00 pm; matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm; Wednesday matinees on April 25 and May 9 at 2:00 pm. There is no Saturday matinee performance on April 21.
There will be an Audio-described performance for the blind and visually impaired on Wednesday, May 2 at 8 pm. There will be a Sign-interpreted performance on Thursday, May 10 at 8:00 pm.
Tickets begin at $47. Discounts available for groups, seniors, military and students.
* BEHIND-THE-SCENES: A LARGER CONTEXT
Saturday, April 21 at 5:00 PM
$10/Free for Olney Theatre Center Members
What does a witch hunt look like in 2018? How is mob mentality affected by a 24-hour news cycle or by social media? How is our elevation of personal stories to the level of cultural myth altered by our current technological world? Originally written as a parallel to the McCarthy era, The Crucible has always asked us to analyze our own culture through the lens of 1600's Salem. The world has changed around us rapidly since the play was written and the pace of how we transfer information has increased tremendously. Join Dr. Kerric Harvey (Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University) for a discussion of how stories like those told in the Salem Witch Trials become part of our worldview, how our narratives are shaped, and the social and political impact they have on everyday life.
*A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: THE WITCH
Saturday, April 28 at 8:15pm
Concessions available for purchase.
A Puritan family struggling to survive the wilderness witness their crops failing and their children missing. They are convinced the Devil is at work. Or is it young Thomasin, who must prove her innocence and faith while simultaneously battling the supernatural and psychological forces threatening to tear her family apart. The Witch wowed audiences at Sundance, and The New York Times called it "a finely calibrated shiver of a movie."
Enjoy one of the best new horror films in our 80-year-old historic theater with giveaways, popcorn, and a brief discussion afterwards with horror and historical experts.
Post-show discussions will occur after the following Saturday matinee performances:
# April 28 and May 5, 12, and 19
About Olney Theatre Center
Olney Theatre Center is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre now in its 80th Season. Our mission is to produce and present extraordinary theatre and performance from our four-theatre campus for an ever-more diverse set of audiences in our community, and to educate the next generation of theatremakers to follow in our footsteps. We strive every day to unleash the creative potential of our artist and audiences, and in so doing, become Maryland's premier center for theatre performance and education. In the past five years, Olney Theatre has had ten world or regional premieres, including Andrew Hinderaker's The Magic Play and Colossal (2015 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical), and Jennifer Hoppe-House's Bad Dog (2015 Steinberg Award nominee). Olney Theatre places a priority on engaging our community by ensuring that we remain affordable, accessible and inviting to new and returning audiences.
Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of over 300 professional productions year-round. It is situated on 14 wooded acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick "triangle," within easy access to all three cities, and is also home to National Players, America's longest-running touring company. Olney Theatre Center is led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Debbie Ellinghaus. For more information, please visit www.olneytheatre.org
Follow Olney Theatre Center on Twitter and Instagram @olneytheatre and on Facebook at facebook.com/olneytheatre.
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