by Amanda Alley, dramaturg
A crucible is defined as a situation or trial that leads to the creation of something new; a purifying process. There could be no more fitting title than The Crucible for Arthur Miller’s play depicting the Salem witch hunt.
Welcome to the 4th Wall Dramaturgy, and a glimpse into BYU’s The Crucible. To get us started with this production, I want to take a look back at the events that inspired the play.
Between 1692 and 1693, 200 people in and around Salem, Massachusetts were accused of witchcraft, and 20 were executed as a result. The event is a dark spot in our nation’s history and is difficult to discuss. So why look back?
Reflecting upon the horrors of the witch hunt ignited a change in our judicial system. The formation of an American government brought with it a philosophy that one is “innocent until proven guilty” – a concept opposite to that found in the courts of 17th century New England.
That is why The Crucible and the events it depicts remain relevant in our time. It presents us with the opportunity to create something new in ourselves as we watch. We can take what has happened in the past, learn from it, and hopefully apply it in our own lives.