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THE CRUCIBLE

Play by Arthur Miller

German by Hanne Lene Limpach and Dietrich Hilsdorf. Recommended for ages: 12 and over

1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. The girls in the village have been struck by a mysterious disease that leaves them lying in bed in a trance-like state, unable to communicate. The preacher Reverend Parris is worried about his daughter and suspects that dark spirits are at work. Last night he witnessed something strange: together with her cousin Abigail, the girls of the village and the slave girl Tituba, Betty danced in the forest. He even thinks he saw a dress that one of them had been wearing lying cast off on the ground. Whatever they did, these teenagers have certainly broken the rules of this puritanical community that seeks to build a «New Jerusalem» directly on the border with the Wild West and keeps a sharp eye on any changes in the lives of its inhabitants. Have ghosts been summoned here or is it the Devil himself who has taken possession of the girls? Or are there agents of Satan living here unnoticed amongst them? An inquisition-like court arrests those who are guilty. As anxiety grows, suspicions are increasingly taken as proof and accusations and counter-accusations eventually implicate most of the village. It becomes increasingly unclear what is being transacted here under a cloak of religious faith – property claims, unrequited loves and disputes with neighbours – while the court acts swiftly and mercilessly to pass a death sentence. 

The American playwright Arthur Miller dramatized this historical incident, in which several hundred people were arrested and 24 of them were killed, in 1953 during the McCarthy Era when he himself was questioned and convicted.

The British director and writer Robert Icke, a rising star of the London theatre scene and the youngest ever winner of the Olivier Award for Best Director presents his first production in Switzerland with «The Crucible». He presents Miller’s breathless trial from a contemporary perspective in which the concepts of legality and illegality, of guilt and innocence that are apparently enshrined in the community can soon turn into their opposite if what is good and evil seems certain.  

Preisstufe IV Schauspielhaus (von 30.– bis 60.–)

Recommendation

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