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Elmira actors have some fun.

Byline: Theater review by Kristina King For The Register-Guard

WHEN A HIGH SCHOOL cast presents a play, one thing is obvious: Cast members either like what they're performing, or they simply like to perform.

In Elmira High's production of "The Crucible," presented last Friday and Saturday, it was abundantly clear that the actors liked what they were doing. In fact, the inspiration to do this Arthur Miller play came from an 11th grade language arts class.

No production had been planned for the winter term at Elmira until this group of Puritan fans and one eager student director, Michelle Davies, emerged. With little adult intervention, these passionate and talented students took on a major show.

Director Davies was a first-timer and had to play two of the characters; the small school generally has problems filling roles. But against the odds, Elmira's production of "The Crucible" generally succeeded.

Miller's passionate play about the 1692 Salem, Mass., witch trials revolves around an affair between a farmer (John Proctor) and his former servant girl (Abigail Williams), and what she does for the sake of revenge: indicting nearly the whole Massachusetts town as witches and sending scores to die by hanging. Although the plot is rife with dramatic conflict, the play takes time with characterization.

The cast showed plenty of enthusiasm, and several actors got to show off their chops. As Tituba, Davies succeeded in capturing the accent of the slave woman from Barbados. Other notable performers included Jessi Cotter, assuming a male role as the Reverend Hale, and Erin Shankle as "the harlot" Abigail.

Most performances were enjoyable, but a few actors seemed uneasy with their characters, not quite comfortable with what they were doing. Others delivered their lines in a stilted manner.

The functional set design worked for telling the story, but with so many actors on stage at one time, it sometimes impaired the audience's ability to see faces and read body language.

All things considered, however, the actors did a commendable job putting on a play they loved, and the audience could see they had fun doing it.

Kristina King is a senior at Thurston High School. This review is part of the Cappies program, in which local high school students review theatrical productions at other schools.
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Title Annotation:Review; Reviews
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 6, 2002
Words:377
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