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The Crucible 

The teenage performances lift this version of Arthur Miller's classic

Wednesday, Oct 5 2005
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Set during the Salem witch hunts of 1692, Arthur Miller's The Crucible (1953) depicts the downward slide of a small Massachusetts community from relative normality to mass hysteria. Miller's ghoulish and brilliant drama is commonly read as an indictment of intolerant, fearmongering regimes. It was written in response to one -- namely, the wave of anti-communism spawned by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s. But the play resonates on many levels, most eloquently -- in the case of the Playhouse's articulate, witch-on-a-broomstick-paced production -- in the depiction of mixed-up adolescence at a time when the word "teenager" didn't even exist. As Salem's gaggle of impressionable pubescents, Mindy Lim, Skye Noel Smith, Lauren English, and Sigrid Sutter penetrate the dark dynamics of what it means to be in -- or, in the case of Janna Sobel's engaging turn as the awkward and terrified Mary Warren, out of -- a clique. The grown-up characters in this production seem flat in comparison to these spirited, devilish teens.

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Chloe Veltman

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