• 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    The Masks We Wear

    by Amanda Alley, dramaturg If you were able to attend The Crucible, you may have noticed the judge’s table and the church door displayed outside the Margetts Theatre. You may have even taken the time to confess to witchcraft, or accuse a friend of such misdeeds. We had several accusations and confessions that aluded to magical literature: Brother accused sister, student accused teacher, husband accused wife. There were even references to other shows produced at BYU this season:

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    A City Set on a Hill

    by Amanda Alley, dramaturg Salem was a town founded on Puritan beliefs. In fact, the settlement was designed to set an example of righteousness for the rest of humanity. Their goal was to separate themselves from the world and create a unified society centered on the principles of their faith. This Puritan community in the New World would be governed by Puritan doctrines, and all would abide in peace. Even the name of the town reflected that ideal: Salem was derived from the Hebrew word Shalom, which means “peace.” The settlement would be an example of righteous living that would shine forth to the rest of the world. Of course,…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    The Two Histories of The Crucible (Part Two)

    by Kristin Perkins, assistant dramaturg In the last blog post I wrote, I talked a little bit about the Salem Witch trials as the primary history that The Crucible draws from. There is a second history that demands to be accounted for in a study of The Crucible: the story of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Red Scare, and Arthur Miller’s involvement. For the sake of total accuracy, this is technically the second Red Scare which happened after World War II and coincided with the height of HUAC activity. The HUAC was a congressional committee tasked with rooting out dangerous communist or “fellow travelers,” the term for being…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    Fanning the Flame

    by Amanda Alley, dramaturg The Crucible revolves around an infamous historical event. But how did it all begin? The Puritans settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to create a unified community. However, in the years leading up to the witch trials, all was not well in Salem. There were several social, political, and religious tensions that grew to provide kindling to the fire that became the Salem Witch Hunt. In 1684, the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter was revoked after colonists broke several of its statutes, specifically those dealing with the separation of church and state. This meant that the colonists were no longer free to govern themselves, and a royally…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Macbeth

    Macbeth’s Lobby Display

    by Jessa Cunningham, dramaturg If you came and saw our production of Macbeth here at BYU last week or the week before, you would have seen this outside in the lobby:  If you looked closely, you would see that the sign reads: “Beware Macbeth’s Story! Do you have something (a fear, worry, etc.) that takes up time in your life? Write it down and throw it into the cauldron to get rid of it. Don’t let it consume your life like some of the characters in the play!” This was an interesting exercise in which many audience members participated. The things written on the little bits of paper ranged from the silly…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    The Crucible in Rehearsal

    by Amanda Welch, dramaturg The Crucible is a weighty show and deals with deceit, adultery, and injustice. The tension caused by lust and lies slowly builds throughout the performance, ending with quite the climax. While I can’t tell you what that climax is, I can show you how the actors and director handle the stress of that tension. Sometimes, you’ve just got to laugh.

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    The Two Histories of The Crucible

    by Kristin Perkins, assistant dramaturg What excites me as the assistant dramaturg for The Crucible, is the level of depth in this play. There is so much to dive into between the rich dramatic themes, vivid characterization, and, not to mention, the exploration of how BYU’s production handles the script in unique ways. I get especially excited about the history; drawing connections, revealing embedded themes, and separating what is historically true from the dramatic “truth” of the play. There is really two histories that inform The Crucible. Most obviously, the play is loosely based on the events of the Salem Witch Trials. Miller certainly did his research but also felt free…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Macbeth

    Drums and Puppetry in Macbeth

    by Jessa Cunningham, dramaturg This production of Macbeth is unique in and of itself. However, something that certainly sets it apart from other productions is our director, Teresa Love, and her decision to make drumming and puppetry and integral element in the show. Many members of the cast will take turns drumming during the show, so Teresa brought in drum consultant Nes Andersen to do some workshops. During his time with the group, he gave them the opportunity to get comfortable with the drums and do some fun exercises. It looks like everyone had a great time! Our wonderful stage manager, MK, took some videos of the workshop, of which you can see…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Macbeth

    Macbeth vs. Macbeth

    by Jessa Cunningham, dramaturg William Shakespeare based the titular character of his–some might say spookiest– play on an actual figure from Scottish history. However, he took some creative license in his portrayal of the king, changing some facts and traits to make the story more compelling to his audience. Let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences between Mac Bethad mac Findlaich (the real Macbeth) and Shakespeare’s character:

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    Defining “Crucible”

    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…