BASIS Independent Brooklyn Crucible Performance


Crucible cast Source: Ms. Crowley

Elizabeth C., Contributing Writer

Last week BASIS Independent Brooklyn Drama Club presented their production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible! The Crucible follows John Proctor (Kaeden Ruparel) as he attempts to restore reason to his deeply Puritan town, seized by witchcraft hysteria. Abigail (Gail Rayham), Betty, and Tituba are found dancing in the forest performing a ritual to kill Elizabeth Proctor (Momo Kobayashi). Having confessed to authorities and been rebuked by her former lover, Abigail resolves to use her power as a devil worshipper to incriminate Elizabeth Proctor as revenge for being terminated. As the frenzy of accusations continues to ravage the town, panic supplants reason in the justice system of this deeply religious community.

An intricate allegory for the McCarthyism of the 1950s, Miller’s play uses the tragic tribulations of colonial America to highlight the comparable hysteria that gripped America during the Red Scare. Fearing the spread of a foreign regime, the American government resorted to decidedly undemocratic strategies of the rooting out Communists and those expressive of criticism. Accused of being a communist sympathizer himself, Miller wrote The Crucible to subvert the aggressively patriotic dogma of the Red Scare. The ingenuity of the women of The Crucible lies in their perpetuation of oppressive social constructs to enhance their own power. On their own, they held no authority. However, once implicated in witchcraft by Reverend Hale (Clara Vickery) and Reverend Parris (Luca Zagorski), they achieved unprecedented societal and judicial influence. Miller demonstrates how power and respect cannot be simultaneously possessed by those who would be societal outcasts. Thus the heretics of the seventeenth century are the nonconformists of the twentieth.

In the present, we hear the echoes of Miller’s work with the rise of “Cancel Culture.” The desire to completely cut out opposing views with the immediacy and finally demanded of our time is problematic. Is the way to solve the complex issues plaguing our modern world as simple as “canceling” people or groups? Miller’s prolific play probes its audience to evaluate intricate issues with the eye of future generations.