We love theater here on Seattle Refined. And, one of the most searing and timeless dramas ever written is about to take audiences on a white-knuckle ride over at ACT Theatre. You might remember the 1996 Oscar-nominated movie The Crucible, starring Daniel Day Lewis. It's the film adaptation of Arthur Miller's 1953 Tony Award-winning play of the same name about the Salem witch trials. The play was inspired by Miller's own experience with the McCarthy hearings during the Communist scare of the early 1950s. And, it's a tale of paranoia and fear that still resonates today.
"I think we're living in a society right now that is coming dangerously close to providing the same ingredients that allowed people to turn on each other," said John Langs, director of ACT's The Crucible.
Religion, conspiracy and lust all fuel Arthur Miller's powerful play The Crucible.
"It was a very interesting time where the morality started to lie in the hands of the accuser, so you had this entire village that turned in on each other," continued Langs.
ACT's production of The Crucible is gripping and will propel you into present day.
"We live in a rage culture, a call-out culture," Langs explained. "You don't have to back up an argument. You just have to send a Tweet, and all of a sudden you've riled the hornets' nest of everybody's emotions and we just push each other further apart."
It's a fresh take on challenging material, forcing the cast to go to dark and difficult places emotionally.
"We've been tasked with finding surprises at every turn," explained Paul Stetler, who plays John Proctor. "Telling the story that's in the script that has never been told the way we're going to tell it."
"It just feels very, the honesty of it, there's no showmanship," continued Khanh Doan, who plays Elizabeth Proctor. "It's not about the lights and the set, it's just about, as John says, the space in between us, and between us and the audience. I just think it's a great, creative way to approach this material."
"And, the thing that surprised me a little bit is, as big as this play is, as epic as it feels, there's so much intimacy, there's really intimate scenes between three people trying to find common ground," added Stetler.
The story is still as Arthur Miller wrote it, but director, John Langs believes the impact it leaves is far greater.
"I think Arthur Miller's bigger point about the play and where we will all recognize ourselves is the individual human being's capacity to ignore their own goodness, to ignore the thing they know is right and to follow the herd and be led by a power that goes un-examined, and a power that is absolute," he said.
When you step inside the theater, Langs wants you to leave your expectations at the door.
"We all have assumptions about ourselves and the people we meet every day," Langs continued. "I wanted stories that would challenge those assumptions. I have assumptions about who I am and I wanted stories that would make me really rethink who I think I am. Because I think the anecdote to polarization is self-reflection and critical thinking. We're putting a bunch of characters on stage who exemplify the gift of soul diving and what's my responsibility here. In that way, I think it's incredibly hopeful."
The Crucible runs through November 12 at ACT Theatre. For tickets, click here.