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Allegations and accusations ignite Annandale’s ‘Crucible’

Emily Woods, a student at West Potomac High School, reviews Annandale High School's “The Crucible” as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program..

A distraught John Proctor paces around the stage desperately trying to remember all Ten Commandments in hopes of proving his wife’s innocence and saving his life. Frantically stumbling over his words and unable to recall the last one, his wife Elizabeth helps him out, “Adultery, John.” And a gasp is heard from the audience as they realize the irony. Dramatic moments such as these defined Annandale High School’s production of “The Crucible.”

The classic drama, written by Arthur Miller and based on actual events, tells the story of Abigail Williams: the girl who cried “witch” in Salem, Mass., during the 1600s. When her affair with farmer John Proctor ends abruptly, Abigail takes action by not only accusing Proctor’s wife of witchcraft, but also recruiting and manipulating several other girls to do the same. Her lie snowballs into town-wide pandemonium, incessant accusations and sweeping paranoia.

The cast of Annandale’s “The Crucible” had an array of talent and some actors’ work seemed on the verge of professional. Several members of the ensemble tackled the complex script and conveyed to the audience the powerful messages behind the lines. The lead actors took on the responsibility of their roles and adult subject matter with maturity beyond their years.

Lauren Kinch stole the show as Abigail Williams, the flirtatious, conniving young woman with a sick obsession for John Proctor. Kinch played her intricate character with convincing line deliveries and well-defined mannerisms. She also did an exceptional job of playing opposite actors in smaller parts who inconsistently played their characters, thereby maintaining the level of the performance.

John Odom and Michelle Kinzer, as John and Elizabeth Proctor, also helped anchor the show. They had an authentic chemistry and were effective in portraying older characters, while some of the other actors seemed oblivious about the age of theirs characters, playing elders overly youthful.

At times, the technical aspects of the production added to the performance, but in other instances, it hindered. The lighting was generally effective, especially the eerie red spotlight used during the first act to enhance the intensity of Abigail declaring her allegations. The light scheme used to depict the murky jail atmosphere also worked well. However, the scene changes were long and the upbeat music selection for these moments were inappropriate—a sharp contrast to the show’s otherwise somber mood.

From screaming, hysterical Salem girls to quiet, charming moments between Proctor and his wife, the cast and crew of “The Crucible” triumphantly executed Miller’s masterpiece.

By Emily Woods, Posted by Mario Iván Oña  |  December 24, 2009; 12:24 PM ET
 | Tags: Cappies 2009  
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