“Crucible” bewitches audience

By: Alex Spindler

The Xavier University Department of Music and Theatre in collaboration with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company did not disappoint with its co-production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”

The production made excellent use of scenery, lighting and sound to drive the narrative forward.

A rustic barn fitted with a gaping crack set the necessary stage for bedrooms, courtrooms and dungeons.

Cool blue and bright yellow lights provided an interesting dichotomy between the manic and depressive episodes of the action.

Nothing compared to the tsunami-like emotional impact from the ensemble.

Shifting from extreme piety to devilish machinations, characters are difficult to embody. Yet, this cast pulled it off with seeming ease.

The ensemble seamlessly blended professional with student actors to the point where the audience could not tell the difference.

Notable performers include Brent Vimtrup and Kelly Mengelkoch (John and Elizabeth Proctor) along with Sara Clark (Abigail). Mengelkoch portrayed an extremely grounded maternal figure who displayed passion and resilience all in the name of God. Especially with Vimtrup, the Proctor family’s physicality and interactions manifested some of the most heartbreaking and tender scenes in the entire show.

Additionally, Clark shined in her portrayal of the evil Abigail. Her facial expressions and vocal projection immediately drew one’s eyes and mind into every word the maniacal Abigail spoke.

This disastrous love triangle created a complex, adulterous layer to an already sinful plotline.

Stand-out performances by Patrick Phillips (Reverend Hale) Maya Farhat (Mary Warren) Tatum Hunter (Mercy Lewis) and Emily DeKanter (Ann Putnam) represented Xavier’s student body.

Each of these individuals along with the ensemble did justice to Miller and gave voice to the often-forgotten victims of the Salem witch trials.

The cast had difficulty with volume and diction. While the show has many intense moments, the barrage of voices and screams sometimes overshadowed important statements in the narrative.

The volume occasionally took away from the subtler moments of the show and made the biting court scenes less influential.

However, when the scene called for an emotional sucker-punch, this crew absolutely delivered.

If you have yet to be blown away by Miller’s words and this company’s performance, do not hesitate to purchase tickets.

This one-of-a-kind co-production of “The Crucible” still has performances at 7:30 p.m. from Oct. 31 until Nov. 3 each night in the Gallagher Student Center Theatre.

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