By: Alex Spindler
The Xavier University Department of Music and Theatre and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s co-production of Arthur Millers’ “The Crucible” will open October 25 and run through November 3.
A new feature of this recreation of an American classic is that professional, Actors Equity Association members of the Cincinnati Shakespeare troupe perform alongside actors from Xavier’s student body.
In an effort to demonstrate the hard work and passion behind putting on such a recognized piece, the Newswire sought out a few cast members to see what it is like to recreate the witchcraft hysteria night after night.
Brent Vimtrup (John Proctor) : Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
“A little over two years ago (this is my third season at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company), I moved from New York City where I had based myself as a professional actor for over a decade. I couldn’t be happier here in Cincinnati.
Theater is a collaborative art, so I haven’t approached this project much differently than any other. I’m actively listening and reacting to my scene partners through the lens of my character.
One of the beauties of being an actor is that we get to leave our labels at the door.
I actually played the role of Hopkins in “The Crucible” when I was a freshman in high school. It was the first show I was ever in.For this production, it’s fun to be back among students. (I’ve also learned that it’s nice to have a coffee shop upstairs from your rehearsal hall). Every day there’s a new obstacle to overcome. I’m just trying to breathe and take one step at a time. I’d hope the audience walks away seeing both the good and the bad in the character of John Proctor.”
Maya Farhat (Mary Warren) : Xavier Sophomore
“We were all so nervous going into the first read-through because we knew that we were going to be among some of the greatest talent in the Cincinnati area. I am a huge fan of Arthur Miller.
I had never read “The Crucible” before, but I did have high expectations. I think two words that could sum up my character of Mary Warren are emotional and confused. In addition, one obstacle I have had to overcome during this rehearsal process is having the same amount of emotion every time we ran a scene.
This entire process has been completely unique in every sense of the word. When we open on the 25th, I want the audience to feel what these people felt when this happened, since it is based on true events.”
Sara Clark (Abigail Williams) : Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
“This is currently my eighth season with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. After working as an intern for the first season, I was asked to come back on board as a reparatory player and a member of the development program.
I have been so excited to work with the Xavier University Theatre Department. The company as a whole was excited upon hearing about the co-production since it gave us the opportunity to finally pay homage to Miller’s “The Crucible.”
The play is very interesting in that there is no happy resolution. No one comes in to save the day. As for my character, Abigail, she absolutely intends her reprehensible evils. After all, she causes the death of 19 innocent people.
However, she does this solely to get what she wants. Overall, what I want audiences to take away from the show is a strong emotional response. The show is very cathartic and interactive. I want audiences to appreciate this strongly-written American classic.”
Brandon Martin (Thomas Putnam) : Xavier Senior
“The collaboration is an amazing and unique opportunity that no other school in this region presents. As the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is an ensemble, they sometimes speak in short hand and certain jargon with which I am simply not familiar.
That is definitely an obstacle which I’ve had to overcome. However, the ability to learn through doing has been incredibly fulfilling. I cannot harp on the collaboration enough.
Being able to see how these actors tackle the challenges in the script has shed a whole new light on the acting process for me. For me, Thomas Putnam is definitely one of the bad guys in the play. He is an opportunist in his element exploiting everyone around him to the best of his ability.”