The Crucible Essay, Research Paper
I saw the play The Crucible and there were examples of styles of directing and acting that were very interesting. The production was put on by the University of Arizona?s theatre department and as such the directing and acting had its good points and its bad ones.
There was one scene in particular that appeared to be very well directed. Act two takes place in the common room of the Proctor?s house about a week after the initial scene in the Reverend?s home. This scene was especially well directed because of its length and the number of French scenes within it.
The space where this scene took place was rather large, but there were obstacles that had to be dealt with by the director. The blocking was done well in that at no point were any of the actors in each other?s way or upstaging each other. There was also the use of the props. At one point Mary Warren entered and gave a doll to Elizabeth Proctor. This doll was placed on the mantle and left alone for a while. Later when the deputy came to arrest Elizabeth the doll was rediscovered. It had been placed originally in a spot where it was still visible and easily found. Another example is the placement of John Proctor?s whip. In the same sort of instance the whip was placed originally in a spot where it was easy to get to later in the scene.
The many French scenes also must have been challenging to the director. Different actors were entering and leaving the common room throughout the entire scene. The timing of these scenes was very well directed and made the scene flow smoothly. The director used the entire stage and at no point was it unbalanced or lopsided.
One character I found engaging was the Reverend John Hale played by L. Jay Meyer. The reason I found him so interesting was because of the way he went from a character I liked to one I disliked back to one I liked in the span of one play.
When Reverend Hale was first introduced he seemed to be the master of the subject at hand, witchcraft. It appeared that he had all of the answers and would be able to cure the girls that had been infected by the demons. He had just come from a town with a similar problem and had many books on the subject. At this point it looked as though he was going to be the savior of this little town, but that all changed soon.
When the Judge came to town and started arresting people for suspected witchcraft the Reverend Hale was supporting him. Hale believed what the girls said about all of the other women in town and helped arrest them. Meyer did an excellent job of portraying Hale and made the audience believe that he was trying to do the right thing. At this point the attitude towards Hale was beginning to turn towards the negative side, but that all soon changed.
Once Elizabeth Proctor was arrested Hale made a change. Meyer played the role well by convincing the audience that he had a sort of revelation. He knew that Elizabeth was not a witch and tried to get her to do whatever it took to get her released. He attempted to get her to confess, but when he realized that that would be wrong he consoled her. It was only after his long time away that he came back to comfort John and Elizabeth. Meyer went from good guy to bad guy back to good guy through the play and it was his portrayal of Hale that kept the audience with him the whole way.
I have a friend that would have gone to this production and possibly walked out. She is a theatre going person and has seen most of the shows that have gone through Phoenix. She has also acted in a couple of productions as well. The reason I say she might have walked out is because of the acting. Other than Hale, the other roles seemed to be played in an over dramatic manner. The actors and actresses on stage looked like actors and actresses trying to play their roles as opposed to the actual characters. I know that I saw one of the first performances, but lines were stumbled on and they seemed to be just reciting. The dialogue did not flow well and their actions seemed deliberate and over done.
One part in particular was the final scene in the jail when the judge and the deputy are attempting to get John Proctor to confess. The way that Frank Mihelich, John Proctor, over did the ending caused me to leave the theatre with a bad taste in my mouth. I also know that if I felt that way then my friend would have felt even worse. She always seems more critical of plays than I do. When Proctor signed the confession and then tore it up and gave his speech about wanting to keep his name, my friend would not have been convinced. She would have said that Mihelich could have got the point of the speech across more effectively with less emotion.
In all, the directing and acting both had its good points and its bad points. Unfortunately, the one well directed scene and the one convincing actor would not have been enough to satisfy my friend, and it was not enough to satisfy me.