Last updated on November 3, 2019
The casting for The Crucible is out. In a departure from usual scheduling this year Northwest’s theater department will only be putting on one major production. Co-Directed by Ellen Graham and Solomon Davis, The Crucible is set to open early February. In addition to this change in regular scheduling, they are welcoming a new stagecraft teacher, Zach Humes, and a new director, Sara Venable. Due to the nature of these breaks from tradition, students and faculty alike are left to wonder – what does the future hold for the theater department?
When speaking to Ellen about the upcoming play, she explained, “Like any great piece of art it stands the test of time, and this has a Me-Too message and is about our current political climate. We’re in a government where people don’t trust each other… where people are ‘you’re my neighbor and I don’t trust you.” Another unique aspect of the play concerns its casting: Comments Anna H. 20’ “NWS Theater has previously never allowed cross-gender roles or switching the gender of roles. In this show we are doing both, which I’m super excited about. This play will end up being a very unique rendition of The Crucible because of that, and because of how we are trying to stray from the male-centric narrative of the play.” who will be playing the role of Elizabeth Proctor.
This raised questions of what led to this decision and what the impact would be on the play. When asked why there would be cross-gender casting, Emily M. 21’ who will be in the role of Parris, said that although she wasn’t sure, she thought it was because it is more important how the role fits an actor. She went on to say “I’m totally fine with playing this role and am glad I have an interesting part. As for modifications in presentation, we’re changing all the pronouns in the script, so I’m not playing the character as a man – I’m playing the character as a woman.”
As the NWS community waits through a winter of rehearsals, hopes are high for the future. “I’m nervous to have a leadership role as a stage manager but I love doing it” says Maureen P. 20’ “I think I hope that everyone who is new to the department and theater in general enjoys it and learns something.” One of the things which sets this play apart from others done by Northwest theater department is that the tenth-grade curriculum reads the script. Faculty Ellen Graham comments, “I hope it will be interesting for students to see it in live-action. To read a play is different than watching it. I read plays for a living and I hate it. To see it up on stage is a thing of joy and beauty.”
So why are there co-directors and what is on the horizon for the theater department? “What happened was we hired a new addition and are really excited to have her joining us,” explains Ellen, “So, this year there will be one big show and then Sarah will a production in the spring. Next year we will go back to how it was, musical one year straight play the other,” The directors will be rotated in and out so the theater department will be up and running as usual going into 2020-2021. Until then, make sure to come see The Crucible this February and welcome these new faculty members to Northwest.