The year is 1692, and the quaint town of Salem, Massachusetts, is embroiled in a frenzy of finger-pointing and paranoia. The Salem Witch Trials have gripped the community, and accusations of witchcraft fly. You may think you know the story, but get ready for a fresh and spine-tingling take on Arthur Miller’s timeless classic, “The Crucible.”
From Oct. 11 to Nov. 4, The Classics Theatre Project presents the chilling production directed by John Pszyk, whose passion for the play is as potent as a witch’s brew.
“This play was as much of a reflection in its time as it is a reflection in our time in 2023,” Pszyk said.
Pszyk, along with several actors in Addison, have expressed excitement for touching the beautifully crafted roles of each character. And why choose theater as the medium to tell this haunting tale? The director’s answer is as poetic as it is poignant:
“With theater, you see, smell, taste, and feel it in a way that’s much more immediate because it’s live,” Pszyl said. “The play remains applicable. It’s just told years later.” Indeed, “The Crucible” is a timeless exploration of the dark corners of human nature.
With a theatrical career lasting over a decade, the director knows the ins and outs of the stage like the back of his hand.
“The play begins inside the mind of a playwright and ends with the last person who stops thinking about it,” Pszyk mused. “The mission of the Classics Theatre Project is to bring classic theater to the stage in a way that’s relevant and meaningful to today’s audiences.”
This contemporary version of “The Crucible” is not just shared by Pszyk but also by actors of every age. The cast has formed its family-like community to connect with storytellers who begin to mold their interpretation. Intriguingly, these actors create eerie soundscapes that permeate the play. It’s a testament to the immersive nature of this production.
“I hope the audience at Addison Theatre Centre get surprised, pleased, slightly scared, and maybe even creeped out by some of our unique elements,” Pszyl said. “I believe theater has the unique ability to do that because it’s immediate. Even though it may be the same show every night, it evolves and responds to the audience.”
“The Crucible” is a thrilling concoction of horror and tragedy that will keep you on the edge of your seat. As the director emphasizes, “Relevance is important. It has to be relevant to what we’re doing; otherwise, it’s a museum piece,” Pszyk said. “This play applies to what is happening to our world today.”
As Pszyk aptly put it, “Theater is a celebration of life. It’s a communal experience that brings people together and sparks conversations long after the final curtain falls. Theater changes us. It makes us feel things and ask questions.”
He added, “No matter the genre, the audience will feel deeply and recognize someone or something in the production that they connect to. Theater is an art that can turn your beliefs into values.”
Ultimately, Pszyk hopes the production will leave a lasting impact on its audience.
“I hope this production encourages audiences to feel enough to think and think enough to feel,” Pszyk said.
In a world filled with complexities and uncertainties, “The Crucible” remains a mirror that reflects the dark wonders of society. As Pszyk passionately declared, “If you’re woke or anti-woke, you’re going to love this play. It’s going to provoke something in you.”
To purchase tickets and view upcoming shows, visit The Classics Theatre Project website.