Opinion: Clarence Brown Theatre presents a haunting performance of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”

Gabrielle Harman reviews Clarence Brown Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” which runs until Oct. 16.

The Crucible// Credit: Gabrielle Harman

Born in the mid-1950s, Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” draws parallels between the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare of the 50s. The show first debuted in 1954 in London, England and was adopted for the screen in 1996. The show tells the story of a period in American history filled with fear, hysteria and witches that all began in Salem, Mass.

The Clarence Brown Theatre’s production takes place in the Carousel Theatre. The intimate setting and simple set allows the gritty story to take center-stage.

The all-star cast brings life to the production. Grant Goodman, who plays John Proctor, perfectly captures Proctor’s rough and complicated personality. Goodman’s stellar performance is epitomized in his heartbreaking delivery of the infamous line, “I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” In her Clarence Brown Theatre debut, Jenny McKnight embodies Elizabeth Proctor’s kindness and goodness. Goodman and McKnight feed off of each other and add depth to the production.

Lauren Pennline plays Abigail Williams and bears a striking resemblance to Winona Ryder, who famously played Abigail in the film production. Pennline is hateful and manipulative, embodying the perfect Abigail and makes audience members everywhere hate Abigail even more. Other notable performances come from Gracie Belt, who plays the emotional Mary Warren and Clarence Brown Theatre veteran, David Brian Alley, who plays the conflicted Reverend John Hale.

The show is extremely well produced from the lighting, to the set, to the costumes; no detail is spared. The audience on Saturday night was enthralled in the performance and gave the show a standing ovation at the end.

“This is the best performance I have ever seen at the Clarence Brown Carousel. The cast is incredible and really brought the story to life,” long time Clarence Brown attendee, John Michaelson, said.

From longtime fans, to theatre newcomers, the Clarence Brown Theatre’s gritty production of “The Crucible” is sure to be a show you will never forget.

For tickets to “The Crucible” and more information on the Clarence Brown Theatre, visit their website.

Featured image by Gabrielle Harman

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo