The Crucible Captures Fear on the Stage

Aaron Voeks

avoek774@uwsp.edu

Jenkins Theatre in the Noel Fine Arts Center is alive with activity this month as students in the theatre department gear up for their performance of the “The Crucible.” 

“The Crucible” is based on the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and portrays a town torn apart by girls claiming to be attacked by witches.  The situation escalades horrifically as more members of the town are accused of practicing witchcraft.

Alex Gudding, a senior BFA acting major, plays John Proctor in this production.  Being one of the leads, he is a large part of the work that goes into the show.

“My favorite part is being able to utilize all of the skills I’ve been garnering and really putting them into one solid character,” Gudding said.

Gudding also shared his experience stepping into the shoes of John Proctor to really capture his emotions.

“The role is really forcing me to explore areas of myself that I’ve never had to delve into before,” Gudding said.

Cast members aren’t just limited to upperclassmen, though.  Katie Bowler, a freshman BFA actress, plays Betty in the show.

“I’m really enjoying being able to work with other members of the theatre department,” Bowler said.

Bowler described the transition between high school stages and college stages as a pleasant one.

“Everyone is so focused here and it’s lovely and encouraging to me,” Bowler said.

However, student involvement does not stop with the acting crew.  Students take on all parts of the production including set design, costuming, and make up.

Lindsey Paquette, a senior BA actress, is the assistant director of the show.

“My duties are to assist Jared, our head director, with anything he may need,” Paquette said.

Being assistant director does not just mean getting the faculty coffee either.

“He asks for my input on how to block and stage things. He’s always asking if I have ideas to make things work better,” Paquette said.

When asked about how the audience will react to the show, all three students responded by talking about fear.

“I think the audience is going to be facing their fears through the characters,” Paquette said.

Both Gudding and Bowler shared similar remarks.

“Fear is ever present in this show and that is something that drives every character,” Bowler said.

Attendees of “The Crucible” can expect to see an exiting show full of brilliant student actors, meticulously practiced stage action, and an expression of fear as they have likely never experienced before.

“The Crucible” opens on Feb. 28 with performances March 1-2 and March 6-8.

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