Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Saturday in the Theater with Arthur Miller


Paul Morgan Stetler as John Proctor in 'The Crucible' at ACT Theatre
photo @Chris Bennion, courtesy ACT
A well-made artwork is one of life’s great pleasures.

That’s exactly what Seattle’s ACT Theatre offers up with its new production of the Arthur Miller classic ‘The Crucible,’ directed by John Langs.

Maybe, like me, you’ve never seen an actual live stage production of this play. And maybe, like me, you’ve been scared away from seeking one out because you had a heavy-handed high school English teacher with a ramrod stiff interpretation of Miller’s script.

I advise you now to toss that baggage aside and give this play the chance it so deserves.

Langs’ production is a revelation; a complex examination of mob mentality, fear of ‘the other,’ of women and sexuality, of self respect and of love.

Every actor in the large cast was stellar, but at the heart of the play was a performance that is so stunning that I can’t get it out of my mind.

Paul Morgan Stetler came out of retirement to tackle the complex role of John Proctor, a man who commits the sin of adultery and is then forced to wrestle with the ramifications of his actions.

From the first moment Stetler takes the stage until the heart wrenching final scenes, he completely inhabits the man he portrays. It’s a remarkable performance in a remarkable production, and reminded me that nobody (whether we agree with them or not) can be reduced to a one-dimensional being.
 
Paul Morgan Stetler as John Proctor in 'The Crucible' at ACT Theatre
photo @Chris Bennion for ACT
Like the best artworks, ‘The Crucible’ left me shaking inside and out. Although it is almost 65 years old, this play is in no way ready for retirement. In fact, in our current political climate, it’s more relevant than ever.

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