The costumes and sets are plain and austere. That’s by design.
The story and themes of The Crucible — being staged by Tri-Cities Prep — are so strong and intense that “we decided to pare everything back that wasn’t essential so the audience can concentrate on the content,” said Michael Speegle, director.
And the students taking the stage as Abigail Williams, John Proctor and the rest are rising to the occasion, he said.
“They’re bright, vibrant and engaged — they’ve really brought a lot to this production,” Speegle said.
The show opens Nov. 16 and continues through the weekend at the Uptown Theatre in Richland.
Performances are at 7 p.m. Nov. 16-17; at 3 and 7 p.m. Nov. 18; and at 3 p.m. Nov. 19.
Tickets are $7 for students and $14 for adults. They’re available at the door.
The Crucible dramatizes the notorious Salem witch trials in 17th century Massachusetts. It was penned in the 1950s by Arthur Miller as an allegory for McCarthyism.
Anna Rodriguez stars as Abigail Williams, one of the main accusers, while Martin Powers takes on the role of John Proctor, one of the accused.
Brennan Bence portrays Judge Danforth, who presided over the trials.
Bence plays football for Prep, and there was a chance he’d have to miss the show if the team made the state championships.
Matt Smith, a student at Hanford High School in Richland, was ready to step up in that case. Hanford recently staged its own production of The Crucible, and Smith played Danforth.
It turns out Bence will be able to take the stage after all, but Speegle said Prep is grateful to the crosstown school for its support.
Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre and The Rude Mechanicals also helped out by lending set pieces.
Prep’s production includes about 26 performers, plus numerous students helping behind the scenes, led by stage manager Tedra LaFreniere.
The play is thought-provoking and has prompted enlightening discussion among the students involved, Speegle said.
“The Crucible is a story about who we used to be a long time ago, who we were recently and quite possibly who we are now. It’s entertainment, sure, but it’s also a warning that history has a tendency to repeat itself,” he said.
But, “it’s not without hope,” he added. “The kids were talking with Matt about the idea of a crucible — the actual thing... (and) how there are scenarios where people can be shown to be good in the most trying of circumstances.”