Miller's play continues to thrill. 40 years on, John Proctor's desperate struggle to keep his personal honour in the face of an inescapable doom still maintains its appeal although the tyrannous spectre of McCarthyism has apparently faded. That this long, emotionally draining and profoundly political work can still draw full houses is testimony to the enduring quality of Miller's writing and the remarkable kinship we feel for the characters.The Graduate Dramatic Society bravely undertook to perform the play in its entirety. I recently saw a production that excised considerable portions from the text. The cuts were neatly done with a clear understanding of the structure of the play, but I would be curious to know if the author had been consulted. The ultimate effect was a little like a Readers Digest version - tantalising rather than fulfilling.At a little under three hours in length - a bit more with an interval - a company needs to tread a fine line between judicious pace and alowing the text to breathe. In the skilled hands of director Celia Turk the cast delivered a measured performance that never faltered and drew the audience along.The very sparse setting showed its limitations. A sense of place was not always immediately apparent. The attic bedroom of the first act may only have been apparent to those with prior knowledge of the play. The large Dolphin stage was very bare. Entrances were often difficult and sometimes awkwardly placed. A large set of rafters suspended over the stage, reminiscent of Pat Stroud's 1986 interpretation in the same venue, were used effectively in each act to convey a range of different settings and moods.Ian Bolgia and Katherine English delivered fine and moving performances as John and Elizabeth Proctor. At first glance, Ian might have appeared unusual casting for the role of Proctor, but his commanding performance swept aside any potential misgivings. Ian's slightly understated start developed beautifully in the last two acts. Likewise Katherine delivered a controlled performance, all the more powerful when she finally breaks in the last act.Reverand Parris started hesitantly and was occasionally a little stiff, but warmed as the play progressed. Governor Danforth gave a truly nasty performance in what is undoubtedly the most callous and malicious role in the play. Reverand Hale never quite realised the potential of this difficult role.There was strong support from many of the minor characters. Abigail Williams captured the capriciousness of a jilted teenager and the desperate clinging to a lost infatuation. Mary Warren, Rebecca Nurse and Thomas Putnam were particularly memorable and Giles Corey was an absolute delight.
Introduction to Acting
The Meisner Technique is one of the most sought-after by casting directors and industry professionals in the United States and throughout the world.