Classic ‘The Crucible’ at MOVP

Bewitching, tragic tale by Arthur Miller opens Friday

Mary Warren, played by Becca Buck, and John Proctor, played by Ike Eastwood, rehearse a scene from MOVP’s production of “The Crucible.” JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times

Affairs, teenage accusations of witchcraft and the deep-seated religious beliefs of a Puritan community will come to life this Friday on the stage of community theater.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Players, with a cast of 23, has stepped back in time to follow Arthur Miller’s classic “The Crucible” through the time of the Salem Witch Trials.

“I think it shows what happens with mob mentality,” said Suzyn Mills, of Marietta, during rehearsal Tuesday night. “When people start believing the ridiculous and wholeheartedly untrue–that’s when it gets dangerous.”

Mills plays Rebecca Nurse, who in the first scene of the classic is seen calming the child Betty who is thought to be bewitched and negatively responding to hymns sung by the community.

“And as a mother and grandmother of so many I know this is just a troubled season that all children go through to some degree,” explained Mills of her character. “But at this time you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. There’s so much manipulation and panic.”

Members of the cast of “The Crucible” perform a scene in which a young Betty Parris, played by Cassie Hennes, is possessed by the devil. The classic Arthur Miller play set during the Salem Witch Trials opens Friday.

Mills’ husband Mark Neyman is the principal director of the play, currently recovering from a fall, but he advocated for years for the show to be shared by the community theater, said Mills.

“There’s so much applicable to the time when Miller wrote the play that’s fascinating,” she explained, noting Miller wrote “The Crucible” during the Red Scare and the McCarthy Trials.

But the hysterics continue throughout the play, tensions and emotions running high as those in power use their influence over others to distract from true motives.

“It’s definitely more mature content, but it’s one of the most performed plays in the nation with high schools and colleges. So here it’s wonderful to see adults who really know the ramifications of some of these accusations playing that out on-stage,” said acting director John “Mack” McHale. “You’ll get to see both great performances from seasoned actors and some new faces showing how we can all hang by a careless whisper which is salient event today.”

The play opens at the Putnam Street theater Friday at 8 p.m. and will run through the two final weekends of June, Friday and Saturday evening shows each at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.

JANELLE PATTERSON Hysterical girls act up in a courtroom scene in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” From left to right are, Blalund Rollins, Amber Smrek, Cassie Hennes, Maeghan O’Neill, Grace Rollins and Rachel Gaston.

If you go:

¯ Crucible performances: June 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 8 p.m., June 23 and 30 at 3 p.m.

¯ Tickets and information at MOVP.org

¯ Directors: Mark Neyman and John McHale.

¯ Cast in order of appearance (character – cast member):

¯ Betty Parris – Cassie Hennes.

¯ Rev Parris – George Gaston.

¯ Tituba – Beth Lane.

¯ Abigail Williams – Amber Smrek.

¯ Susanna Walcott – Blalund Rollins.

¯ Ann Putnam – Jane Mancini.

¯ Thomas Putnam – John “Mack” McHale.

¯ Mercy Lewis – Maeghan O’Neill.

¯ Mary Warren – Becca Buck.

¯ John Proctor – Ike Eastwood.

¯ Rebecca Nurse – Suzyn Mills Neyman.

¯ Giles Corey – Steve Casto.

¯ Rev. John Hale – Tim Tuten.

¯ Elizabeth Proctor – Erin O’Neill.

¯ Francis Nurse – Kermit Polan.

¯ Ezekiel Cheever – Nathaniel Maciag.

¯ John Willard – Corey Rutter.

¯ Judge Hathorne – Dan Patton.

¯ Deputy Governor Danforth – Kevin Knapp.

¯ Sarah Good – Sherri Knapp.

¯ Hopkins – Aaron Paige.

¯ Girls – Grace Rollins, Rachel Gaston.

Source: Mid-Ohio Valley Players.