ST. MARYS — In the town of Salem, Mass., in 1692, there was a community dedicated to the service of God.
The background is of “The Crucible,” a play based on a time during the Salem Witch Trials that is also described as an allegory of McCarthyism.
Tonight and Saturday night, local students will be showcasing their version of the story they are required to read in their junior English classes in a performance of which they have been working on for approximately 12 weeks.
“It’s a different show than what we’ve done before,” said Memorial High School senior Keith Frische, who plays Thomas Putnam in “The Crucible.” “It’s definitely a challenge.”
Fellow senior Leah Renner, who plays Abigail Williams, also described “The Crucible” as a challenge.
“I think it was definitely a challenge for us to put on,” she said. “Not many colleges attempt it, but for some reason we did.”
Memorial High School junior Neil Perry, who plays John Proctor, also described “The Crucible” as a challenge but was positive about their version.
“I think we’re going to do a good job with the challenge,” Perry said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and I think it’ll pay off.”
Memorial High School senior Troy Newlove, who plays the Rev. Hale in “The Crucible,” gave a short synopsis of the play.
“Basically, Abigail Williams and her little friends go around and accuse people in the village of witchcraft,” Newlove said.
“Abigail and John have a very scandalous relationship, and Abigail plots to accuse John’s wife of witchcraft because she’s madly in love with John. Then, there’s a sudden twist in the story that turns the table back on John.”
Renner noted “The Crucible” was written by American playwright Arthur Miller.
“It was designed to protest the Red Scare,” Perry noted, while Renner added it is also similar to the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
“He (Arthur Miller) didn’t want to openly protest because he would be accused of communism,” Perry said.
Memorial High School senior Austin Boise, who plays Giles Corey, noted the lessons learned in “The Crucible” can be adapted into today’s time, as well.
“Arthur Miller’s lesson in ‘The Crucible’ is still culturally relevant today,” Boise said, noting the threat of terrorism in the United States and racial profiling that has happened as a result of the threat of terrorism.
Newlove encouraged residents to come out to see “The Crucible” because it is different than shows the students have done in the past.
“I think that people should come see this play because it’s completely different from anything we’ve done in the past, in a great way,” he said.
Renner added “The Crucible” will be a tough act to follow.
“It sets the bar higher for the future classes,” she said.
Perry described the play as “intense.”
“It’s simply going to be intense,” he said. “This is the type of play that is going to make you consider your thoughts.”
“The Crucible” will be at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday in the Performing Arts Center at Memorial High School. Tickets will be sold at the door and cost $3 for students and senior citizens and $5 for adults.