The Crucible

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The Crucible [1] is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller (1915-2005) [2]. It was initially called "The Chronicles of Sarah Good". It is a haunting play reflecting on McCarthyism and a dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. It was first performed at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway on January 22, 1953. Miller felt that this production was too stylized and cold and the reviews for it were largely hostile (although The New York Times noted "a powerful play [in a] driving performance"). Nonetheless, the production won the 1953 "Best Play" Tony Award. A year later a new production succeeded and the play became a classic. It is a central work in the canon of American drama.

Translations and adaptations

The Crucible was translated into Afrikaans by Sandra Kotzé under the titles Die Hekse van Salem ("The Witches of Salem") (1982) and Die Salem-Verhoor ("The Salem Trial") (1988).

Performance history in South Africa

First South African production by *** in 19**.

1956: Presented by the Arts Theatre Association, Cape Town, at the Labia Theatre, directed by Leonard Schach, starring Joss Ackland, Costa Couvara, André Huguenet, Johann Nell and June Range. Decor by Giuseppe Cappon and costumes by Ena Bang.

1959: Directed by Leonard Schach for the Witwatersrand University Dramatic Society at the University Great Hall in April, starring Clive Hirschorn and Molly Seftel.

1970: In June Rosalie van der Gucht directed a University of Cape Town Drama Department production at the Little Theatre, Cape Town, starring Adrienne Murcott, Johan van Jaarsveld, Aletta Bezuidenhout, Sue Kiel, Barbara Wiorkiewicz, Jacqui Singer, Roger Lovett, Roshel Malbin, Vicki Hertz, David Haynes, Dina Falkson, Christopher Prophet, Paul Slabolepszy, Liz Dick, Marko van der Colff, Alex Mavro, Peter Kenealy, Stefan Bubenzer, Peter Krummeck, Evelyn Lewis. Sets and costumes were designed by Stephen de Villiers, lighting by Garth Beresford.

1975: PACT staged a production directed by Barney Simon, featuring Marius Weyers (John Proctor), Aletta Bezuidenhout (Elizabeth Proctor), Patrick Mynhardt (Deputy-Governor Danforth), Michael McCabe (Reverend John Hale), Annelisa Weiland (Abigail Williams), Norman Coombes (Giles Corey), Margaret Fry (Rebecca Nurse), Billy Matthews (Francis Nurse), Lesley Nott (Mary Warren), George Jackson (Reverend Parris), Helen Jessop (Ann Putnam), Beverley Melnick (Mercy Lewis), Vicki Hertz (Susanna Walcott), Michele Maxwell (Tituba), Ilona Kazan (Betty Parris), Danny Keogh (Marshal Herrick), Dale Cutts (Thomas Putnam), Paul Slabolepszy (Ezekiel Cheever) and Frank Douglass (Judge Hathorne). Decor by Richard Cook, costumes by Christa Scholtz and Lighting by Mannie Manim.

1976: A production directed by Janice Honeyman opened on 5 July Upstairs at the Market.

1978: Directed by Helen Mann at the Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival [P.E.S.F.].

1981: PACT staged a production directed by William Egan, featuring Ron Smerczak (John Proctor), Sandra Prinsloo (Elizabeth Proctor), Patrick Mynhardt (Deputy-Governor Danforth), Bobby Heaney (Reverend John Hale), Diane Britz (Abigail Williams), Anthony James (Giles Corey), Margaret Heale (Rebecca Nurse), Pamela Gien (Mary Warren), Nigel Vermaas (Reverend Parris), Pauline Bailey (Ann Putnam), Theresa Iglich (Mercy Lewis), Karen Lebos (Susanna Walcott), Mara Louw (Tituba), Joan Metelerkamp (Betty Parris), Norman Anstey (Marshal Herrick), Ian Steadman (Thomas Putnam), Peter Terry (Ezekiel Cheever) and Ronald Wallace (Judge Hathorne). Decor by Johan Badenhorst, costumes by Frances Michaletos and Lighting by Jannie Swanepoel.

1982: The Kotzé Afrikaans translation, Die Hekse van Salem was presented by PACOFS, directed by Sandra Kotzé, starring Marko van der Colff, Franz Gräbe, Louw Verwey, Ben de Koker, Suzette Mullins, Helen Ortell, Karin Retief, Hannelie Tolken, Francesca Bantock, Chris Fourie, Libby Daniels, Sulette Minnaar, Anna Cloete, George Barnes, Anton Welman, Antoinette Kellermann, Pieter Brand, Louis Minnaar, Henry Mylne and André Retief. Decor by Johan Badenhorst, costumes by James Parker, lighting by Brian Evans.

1983: Presented by University Theatre Stellenbsoch in the H.B. Thom Theatre in September, adapted and directed by Noël Roos, starring Gustav Geldenhuys, Isadora Verwey, Antoinette Pienaar, Albert Maritz, Robert Finlayson, Neels Engelbrecht and others.

1986: A Herschel School production, directed by Dawn McClurg, was performed in the Baxter Studio.

1988: The Kotzé Afrikaans translation Die Salem-Verhoor was staged by PACT, directed by Dieter Reible, with Megan Choritz, Linda Pienaar, Johan Malherbe, Natania van Heerden, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Susan Danford, Isabel Smit, Lida Meiring, Pieter Brand, Ronel Kriel, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Marcel van Heerden, Wilna Snyman, Eghard van der Hoven, Pierre van Pletzen, Aletta Bezuidenhout, George Barnes, Andre Odendaal, Hannes Muller, Tjaart Potgieter and Louis van Niekerk. Assistant director was Andre Odendaal, decor by Lindy Roberts, lighting by Jacques Mulder and costumes by Christa Scholtz.

1990: Presented by the Rhodes University Drama Department, directed by Reza Reardon (Reza de Wet) in May, starring Lindsay Reardon, Jenni Fulton, Dion van Niekerk, David Bertram, David Whisson, Edwina Sheridan-Smith, Alison Hope, William Carnegie and Neil Borland.

1996: Presented by the Market Theatre at the National Arts Festival, directed by Lara Foot Newton. Set designer Cathy Henegan, costume designer Sue Steele, lighting designer Richard Barnes, accent coach Dorothy-Ann Gould. The cast: Marcel van Heerden, Graham Hopkins, Frantz Dobrowsky, Megan Wilson, Michael Gritten, Thembi Mtshali, Alan T. Marks, Norman Coombes, Bella Mariani, Yael Farber, Amanda Lane, Ken Marshall, Kyla Davis, Sarah Woodward, Carla Grauls, Ntombiyoxolo Tshabalala.

1999: Blaise Koch, assisted by Samantha Pienaar, directed students of the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department for a production in the H.B. Thom Theatre. Designs by Kobus Rossouw. Members of the cast were, among others, Neels van Jaarsveld, André Weideman, Floyed de Vaal, Jenny Stead.

2011: A production directed by Pieter Brand featured Luan Jacobs as "John Proctor".

2011: Joburg Promusica's production of The Crucible is on at its theatre in Roodepoort until March 26, and moves to the University of Johannesburg Arts Centre from April 18 to 21. With a great young cast that includes Stephen van Niekerk and Kim Cloete of Isidingo fame, Miller's play is strikingly realised by director Alby Michaels and designer Kosie Smit.

2014: A production by students of the Department of Drama and Film (Drama) at the Tshwane University of Technology. The venue is the Breytenbach Theatre, Pretoria (25 February to 1 March) and the play is directed by Nkosinathi Joachim Gaar.

Sources

Wikipedia [3]

PACT theatre programme, 1975.

Inskip, 1977. p 120, 121.

PACT theatre programme, 1981.

PACT theatre programme, 1988.

National Arts Festival programme, 1996.

UTS theatre programme.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988; Die Hekse van Salem theatre programme, 1982.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Business Day, 17 March 2011 (Promusica production).

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