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Theater in the Open and the Firehouse Center for the Arts will be presenting The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s classic play about the catastrophic impact fear and intolerance can have on a community, in Amesbury from September 29 to October 2. Performances will take place at the Rocky Hill Meeting House in Amesbury, an 18th-century meeting house that evokes the setting of the play, which takes place during the Salem witch hysteria of the 1690s.

“This play shows what happens when the heat is turned up beyond anyone’s control,” says Edward F. Speck, director of the production and artistic director of Theater in the Open. “It depicts the trauma enacted when a society, particularly a rigidly patriarchal society, cannot tolerate the ‘other’ within them.
Ultimately, communities that turn on each other will rip themselves apart—it was true in the 1690s, in the 1950s, and we can see it happening today.”

Julia Jemsek as Mary Warren

The main cast will be led by Andrew Codispoti as John Proctor, Ariana Karp as Elizabeth Proctor, and Morgan Amelia Fanning as Abigail Williams. The cast also includes Allegra Dubus-Brandolini of Exeter, Julia Jemsek of Portsmouth, Devyn Itula of Los Angeles, and Paul Emile and Dylan C. Wack of New York City. More casting announcements will be made throughout September.

The Crucible opened on Broadway in 1953 as a response to the attempts of the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy too seek out and eradicate Communist sympathizers in the 1940s and 1950s. Many entertainment professionals were either blacklisted or included on lists of potential Communist sympathizers, including Arthur Miller, Charlie Chaplin, and Harry Belafonte. The play uses the Salem witch hysteria as an allegory for the contemporary anti-Communist frenzy, in which fear and suspicion dominated and many of the accused felt the need to point fingers—to “name names”—in order to protect themselves.

For more information about show times and to buy tickets, visit the Firehouse Center for the Arts website.