Although Arthur Millers The Crucible Based on the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692, his powerful and chilling story piece actually grew out of his own experience with Senator Joe McCarthy’s equally infamous 1950s communist witch hunt, when Miller refused to incriminate others and moved from Hollywood to black list was set.
Vengeance goes Salem. A godly Massachusetts community is terrorized to the point of paranoid rage. Truth and justice are perverted and the only way to survive being accused of witchcraft was to admit to having seen witches. Those who did not confess were hanged.
Miller’s verbally argumentative acting is not an obvious choice for a ballet. This works far better than you might think. Choreographer Helen Pickett and musician Peter Salem have created a remarkable dance-drama adaptation that captures the tight-knit Puritan society in the grips of hysteria.
The minimalist production looks good. Emma Kingsbury is a set and costume designer. David Finn is a set and lighting designer. The ballet is a series of dramatic tableaux set in home, church, forest, courtroom and prison
The ballet begins with the backstory: Elizabeth Proctor (Sophie Martin) discovers husband John (Nicholas Shoesmith) red-handed with Abigail, their 19-year-old maid. (Constance Devernay).
The dancers are actors. The performances are emotionally strong. The physical and musical dynamics have a grandiose effect throughout. The tension is great
I really liked Pickett’s distinctive choreography. I thoroughly enjoyed the extraordinary sounds Salem creates. Absolutely captivating; Without his brilliant score, the ballet would not be the success it is today.
If you are unfamiliar with Miller’s play, I would strongly advise you to read the synopsis first.
Robert Tanitch reviews Scottish Ballet’s The Crucible at Sadler’s Wells Theater in London
Source link Robert Tanitch reviews Scottish Ballet’s The Crucible at Sadler’s Wells Theater in London