Preview: ‘The Crucible’

Preview of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, staged at the Sheldonian.

The Oxford Culture Review

In his memoir Timebends, playwright Arthur Miller wrote that “I could not imagine a theater worth my time that did not want to change the world.” Certainly, his work set out to do nothing less; written in 1953, the year of the Rosenbergs’ execution on charges of espionage, his play The Crucible was formed as a powerful allegorical critique of McCarthyist America. Set during the seventeenth-century Salem witch trials, Miller used the hysterical paranoia that gave rise to the hanging of various “witches” to draw parallels with the treatment of supposed Communists in America, the trials relying on denunciations and rumour.

In 2015, the tenth anniversary of Miller’s death, his words are no less potent, finding new resonances in current news items. It is these contemporary justice issues that next week’s production of The Crucible (Christ Church Dramatic Society and the Oxford Innovative Theatre Company) is aiming to emphasise. “It…

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