, Salem, MA


September 26, 2013

Faith and blood

Salem Theatre Company brings back 'The Crucible,' this time on its main stage


But this is the first time the company has staged it in its theater on Lafayette Street, which is smaller than other venues it has used.

“We have 21 performers, so it’s been a real challenge to figure out how to wedge this show into our stage,” Fogle said. “But I like challenges like that.”

He also hasn’t made it easier on himself by attempting to bring the fears of Salem’s residents back to life.

“The difficulty for us as artists and the audience today with this play is imagining the rigors of life that the Puritans lived through in 1692,” he said. “They were living in the wilderness. It was harsh. They were surrounded by hostile Indians, and there were wars breaking out around them.”

There were also wild animals to deal with, who not only attacked them, but also ate their crops.

“On top of this, the Puritans believed the devil was ready to pounce on anybody who was weak, and the devil lived in the forest,” Fogle said.

He has, therefore, taken out his curtains and backstage space and created “something of a forest” in the theater.

“We’re trying to get a little bit more of an environmental, interactive experience for the audience,” he said.

This creates technical challenges for the production, such as where to put props and actors when they’re not on stage, but Fogle believes it will pay off.

“I think people will be surprised,” he said. “Let’s shake it up.”

Fogle is also experimenting with using sound to create atmosphere, which also has challenges.

“We won’t be using music, because Puritans didn’t believe in music,” he said. “We’re using a drummer, who I hope will add some visceral excitement.”

That instrument can create either the tension in a march to judgment, or the rhythms associated with Tituba, a slave from Barbados.

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