Only a few years after its Broadway debut in 1953, Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” ascended to the status of literary classic.
It has remained prominent in the canon of American drama and is a staple of high school English curricula.
Jared Hanlin, assistant professor of theater at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, will give a behind-the-scenes look at UWSP’s production of “The Crucible” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 3, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, “Theatrical Proving Grounds: Directing The Crucible” is free and open to the public.
The play is a dramatized re-enactment of the Salem witch trials in the late 1600s. Although the play centers on real events, it is not actual history. Miller intended to use the Salem witch trials as an allegory about the anti-Communist Red Scare and the congressional hearings of Sen. Joe McCarthy going on in the U.S. at the time.
Readers and audiences continue to be captivated by character John Proctor’s struggle for goodness in a society crippled by fear and poisoned by private selfishness.
The Winchester Academy program will focus on director Hanlin’s interactions with student actors, theater production staff and the audience.
“It is for these (and other, more personal) reasons that I wanted to direct ‘The Crucible’ for UWSP and its central Wisconsin audiences. Our department is in the business of training theater artists, and I truly believe that the art form of theater is itself a learning process for everyone involved – audience members must learn (or re-learn) something about themselves by watching a play, as do the actors by acting it, or designers by designing it,” Hanlin said.
“The director,” he added, “is no exception. In this program I seek to share with you my experience directing ‘The Crucible’ – what I learned about the play and through it.”
Rather than focusing merely on the content of the play itself, Hanlin additionally hopes to interest area high school and college students by discussing how they can take the skills learned in class and create a living work of art and to engage an audience.
Hanlin joined the UWSP faculty in 2012 as the voice and movement specialist. As an actor he has performed regionally at TheatreSquared and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Some of his favorite roles include Walter in “Up,” the Emcee in “Cabaret,” Laertes in “Hamlet” and Louis in “Angels in America, Part 1.” Hanlin also performs a one-person show he premiered in 2010 entitled Psalm 100:1.
He received his master’s degree in acting from the University of Arkansas
To gain a more complete appreciation of Hanlin’s discussion of “The Crucible,” Winchester Academy attendees may wish to attend one of the performances in Stevens Point. Tickets are available through the UWSP Department of Theatre and Dance box office at 800-838-3378. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 6-8; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2.
Program expenses are funded through sponsors and through gifts and donations from community members who support the Academy. Donations are tax deductible. Jared Hanlin’s program is sponsored by Nyles and Genny Eskritt.
For more information about Winchester Academy, check winchesteracademywaupaca.org or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.