First performed in 1953 when anti-communist feeling was at its height in the United States, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is one of the most studied and staged plays of the twentieth century.
Inspired by the true story of the “witch trials” held in the colonial township of Salem in 1692, which led to the execution of 20 people – mostly women – the play depicts a society driven by fear to act in brutal ways.
Though it spoke loudly to the anti-communist hysteria whipped up in the post-war years, The Crucible remains a timeless and always relevant play, says Sport for Jove’s Damien Ryan, director of this production.
“The obvious reference is [Senator] Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Commission but Miller was singularly interested in the story of those events at Salem in 1694,” Ryan says. “He wanted The Crucible to be all-inclusive, more than just a comment on his times. He’s asking how does a society turn on and wipe out its women? Why do communities and nations poison their own democracies?”