SARAH BECK ’DOAH STAFF WRITER
In the spring of 1692, a cry for witchcraft from teenage school-girls takes over the town of Salem, Massachusetts. The serious drama involves lies, betrayal, accusations and hysteria where the town is highly influenced by religion as well as the men who are leaders
in the government. The play deals with spooky and extreme circumstances that made the play perfect to see during this past Halloween weekend.
The stage was lit appropriately with all sorts of different colors giv- ing the audience a feel of this dark play. The difference between sunrise and sunset on the cyc gave an interesting mood because the actors on stage were trying to make a decision before sunrise. The closer and closer the colors on the cyc turned to sunrise, the more intense the scene became. It was interesting to see how lighting was incorporated in the actors’ urgency on stage.
Surprisingly, the set was very put together and simple. Going into it, one would expect there would
be more set pieces if an audience member had read the play before. But more set pieces weren’t needed. They used a structure like a column that had planks scattered all over. For example, the structures changed to look more like trees, to looking more like a fireplace in the Proctor’s house and also looking like two small windows in Reverend Parris’ house.
The acting was phenomenal and became yet another reminder of how incredible our acting program is at Shenandoah University. Carolyn Coulson, the director of the show, brilliantly put her ideas beautifully on stage. The show
was casted correctly and actors brought something to their performance. A lot of the actors stood out like Bridget Doherty, who played Abigail Williams. Doherty was so believable and really played off another very talented actor, Morgan McDowell, who played John Proctor. Both of them put the time and the effort to perfect their craft. Tears came rolling down my face towards the end of the play when Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth Proctor, played by Liz Fraser, both get into an argument right before John Proctor’s tragic destiny is determined. It was extremely effective to the audience when she talks about how she has forgiven John. The scene was impactful and completely beautiful. While the actors successfully took on difficult roles to play, the ending lacked. The sound effect that was played when the curtains were closed didn’t sit with the audience long enough. To picture the scene more easily, there should have been more than the drumroll. It would have left a lot more with the audience to go home with.
The main focus for the makeup was the wigs that were used. They were very impressive to put the play in its time period. I loved seeing the wig that they put on Mr. Putnam who was played by Dan Piraino. The curly long black hair was really interesting to see on all of the males because most of them have shorter hair outside of the show. I liked see- ing that after John Proctor goes to prison, that he comes back and sees Elizabeth fully bearded. It distinctly showed that time had passed and that he was a different man.
The costumes were all custom- made, some parts of the costumes were by hand, and all of the costumes put the play in a gloomy setting. What I really liked was the bonnets and how they all had different colors with the stitching around the head. Abigail’s for example, had a heavy burgundy stitch while some of the other afflicted girls had green or a light pink. The costumes weren’t made like they were uni- forms at all because everyone had their very own custom made colors. It was really enjoyable to see that in this show because going into it, I was afraid that everyone was going to look the same.
This show is one of the more impressive shows I’ve seen at Shenandoah University and it makes me extremely excited to see what we have in store for the years to come. The acting program is getting bigger and better because of the wonderful students and staff that we have in the theatre conservatory. So much hard work and dedication went into this show and it obviously paid off. This performance is a prime example of how talented, both on the technical side and the performer side, Shenandoah University is.