Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was first performed on Broadway in 1953. At the time, it was considered a thinly veiled stab at the McCarthy witch hunts of suspected communists. This period in recent American history has contemporary parallels and for that reason, Brisbane Arts Theatre presents one of the most powerful and unnerving plays ever written in April 2018. Audiences are challenged about bullying, alpha-female behaviour, hysteria, divisiveness, fake news and the risks inherent in closed-minded fundamentalist beliefs.
Set during the Salem witch trials, a puritan society believes in the power of darkness and its ability to wreak havoc if it is unleashed. And havoc is indeed wrought as more and more innocent women are arrested and tried for witchcraft. A gradually increasing hysteria gathers strength and influence, a small untruth becomes reality and a community is ripped apart. There is nobility and moral will, but faced with the power of a crazed mass there is no hope, only inevitable self-destruction.