Woodlands tackle classic Arthur Miller tale of ‘witchcraft’

Woodlands Drama Group's production of The Crucible - Louise Turton, bottom left, Claire Williams; bottom right, Rowan Bartlett

Woodlands Drama Group's production of The Crucible - Louise Turton, bottom left, Claire Williams; bottom right, Rowan Bartlett

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The next production by Woodlands Drama Group may be about witches in 17th century New England but much of its modern resonance lies in its theme of the lost innocence of childhood.

Running from Wednesday, June 19 to Saturday, June 22, The Crucible by Arthur Miller explores what happens after girls are discovered dancing in the woods experimenting with summoning spirits at midnight.

The youngsters think they are only playing a childish game but the Puritan church and town elders take a very different view.

Set in Salem in the province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693, the children are quickly accused of witchcraft.

Their only solution is to plead guilty, even the 13-year-old Betty Pariss, daughter of the local reverend is included.

On the word of these pressurised and frightened children, 28 innocent townsfolk are tried, found guilty and hanged.

In such circumstances, children are obliged to grow up very quickly. A 17-year-old, girl Abigail Williams, has a passionate affair with a local farmer John Proctor, whose wife is ill after childbirth.

When Proctor refuses to continue the affair, Abigail accuses Proctor and his wife of being in league with the devil to exact her revenge.

A vicious cycle of loss of innocence ensues leading to an irrevocable loss of authority in the community.

Arthur Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the US Government blacklisted anyone accused of being communist.

Since it was first performed in 1953, The Crucible has become a modern classic, leading to several movie adaptations on the big screen.

Tickets for Woodlands Drama Group’s production of The Crucible are available on 01423 502116 or book online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk