Nothing feels more unjust than a wrongful accusation. And there’s nothing worse than seeing someone pay for something they haven’t done.
At The Keegan Theatre right now, you can have a front row seat to squirm through just that sort of thing. In The Crucible, love-struck troublemaker Abigail Williams is out to win her man (John Proctor), whatever it takes. One little problem; John is married, and is trying to patch things up with his wife, the pure and righteous Elizabeth.
Add Tituba, a maid from Barbados with a penchant for voodoo; Reverend Parris, Abigail’s holier-than-thou preacher uncle who wants to know what his daughter and niece were doing dancing (naked?!) in the forest; some finger pointing; and the setting — Massachusetts, 1692 — and you’ve got the makings of a true nail-biter.
The Crucible is not an easy play, and the Keegan cast does a lovely job; notable standouts were the stalwart Giles Corey (played by Timothy Hayes Lynch), the edgy and nervy Mary Warren (Emily Riehl-Bedford), the powerful and misguided Deputy Governor Danforth (Kevin Adams) and the love-to-hate-him then hate-to-love-him Reverend John Hale (Kevin Hasser), as well as the group of accusing girls in the second act.
And in spite of the tense subject matter, the cast even elicited giggles from the audience. Maybe this sort of thing — absurd accusations, too unbelievable to be true — is funny at the start. But by the second act, the impulse to intervene on behalf of the imperfect, but innocent characters is overwhelming.
It’s no accident that we as audience members feel the urge to jump up and yell, “STOP!” Arthur Miller wrote the Crucible in the late 1950s, in the McCarthy-era, as an allegory to the veritable anti-communist witch hunt; he, himself, was a target. But there’s just something about a witch hunt that always rings true, no? I found myself thinking about Troy Davis, recently put to death in Georgia for crimes he claimed he did not commit. We may never know if he did it or not, but it doesn’t feel good to wonder.
If you haven’t dropped by to see a show at Keegan, this would be a wonderful opportunity. Tucked in a residential block (on Church Street NW between 17th and 18th Streets NW), it’s a lovely theatre, and if witch hunts aren’t your thing, they’ve got a full season ahead.
The fall theater season in Borderstan kicks off Wednesday night at Theater J with Imagining Madoff. On Wednesday and Thursday night, the box office opens at 6 pm for a “Pay What You Can” preview of the show; limit of two tickets per person.
Theater J says of their first show of the 2011-2012 season:
“The much anticipated premiere by OBIE Award winner, Deb Margolin. Unrepentant Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff sets the record straight from his prison cell, recounting an all-night study session with Holocaust survivor, poet and investment client, Solomon Galkin. With testimony from Madoff’s personal secretary before the Securities and Exchange Commission, we delve into the minds of two towering men, as their mutual will to confide and confess accelerates through the night.”
Imagining Madoff runs through September 25 with shows on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights, plus Sunday matinees (and two performances next week on Monday and Tuesday). Tickets are $45 — $15 if you are age 35 or under (based on availability) and $41 for people over age 65.
At the Source, 1835 14th Street NW: Every Tuesday night at the Source is Harold Night! with the Washington Improv Theater. Shows are at 10 pm and are free.
Studio Theatre. At 14th Street’s Studio Theatre, The Habit of Art opens Wednedsay, September 7 and runs through October 16. It’s the latest play from the author of The History Boys and it “examines creativity, desire and the tenacity of the artistic spirit.”
Keegan Theatre at Church Street. Arthur Miller’s famous play, The Crucible opens October 22 and runs through November 19. It is set in the context of the witch trials of 17th Century Salem, Massachusetts.
Source. Every Tuesday night at the Source is Harold Night! with the Washington Improv Theater. Shows are at 10 pm and are free. “Each week is a demonstration, celebration and experiment in the world-famous improv longform, Harold. It starts with an audience suggestion and explores whatever themes emerge through a series of scenes. All of the action is brought to life by WIT’s own Harold Teams right before your eyes.” (Source)
Find out what is going on at other theaters in the area below the fold: