The Crucible

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The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller (born 1915). 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.

Performance history in South Africa

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

Presented by the Arts Theatre Association, Cape Town, at the Labia Theatre in 1956, 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. Leonard Schach also directed the play for the Witwatersrand University Dramatic Society at the University Great Hall in April 1959, starring Clive Hirschorn and Molly Seftel.

PACT, Patrick Mynhardt, Marius Weyers, Michael McCabe, Aletta Bezuidenhout and Michele Maxwell in 1975.

Also done Upstairs Theatre at the Market Theatre in 1976.

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

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

Presented by the Market Theatre at the National Arts Festival, 1996, 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.

In 1999 Blaise Koch, assisted by Samantha Pienaar, directed students of the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department for a performance of this play at 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.

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.

Translations and adaptations

A translation into Afrikaans by Sandra Kotzé, entitled Die Hekse van Salem was presented by PACOFS in 1982, 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.


Inskip, 1977. p 120, 121.

National Arts Festival programme, 1996.

UTS theatre programme

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

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