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Sacramento Theatre Company’s 'Crucible' A Powerful Take On The Classic

Charr Crail Photography

James Louis Wagner and Shannon Mahoney in Sacramento Theatre Company’s The Crucible.

Charr Crail Photography

When I was 13, which was a long time ago, Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” was required reading in my middle school English class.

I’ve seen the play staged many times, and I respect the 1950s drama about the Salem witch trials as a classic. But every once in a while, I bump into a new production that reminds me afresh of what a powerful, visceral experience a strong performance of “The Crucible” can be.

The Sacramento Theatre Company's season-opening production is one of those happy occasions. It's lively from the get-go, and director Natasha Hause brings out the great script’s many themes.

There are humorous scenes involving crusty old Giles Corey, and there are scary scenes involving Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth, who sentences dozens of innocent people to death on trumped up charges. The courtroom scenes, involving allegations of witchcraft spurred by clique of teenage girls pretending to be possessed, are electric and intense.

I’ve been reviewing October season kickoff shows at the Sacramento Theatre Company for 23 years, and this is one of their best. This production does a great job capturing the historic story of hysteria and fear run amok in Colonial Massachusetts and speaks clearly to us across a gulf of nearly 400 years. Director Hause and her large cast can be proud of this one.

The Sacramento Theatre Company’s production of “The Crucible” continues through Oct. 21.

 theatre review

Jeff Hudson

Contributing Arts Reporter and Theatre Critic

Jeff Hudson has been contributing arts-related stories to Capital Public Radio since 1995, with an emphasis on theater and classical music. He attends over 100 performances annually, ranging from modern musicals to medieval masses.   Read Full Bio 

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