THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller
       Olean Theatre Workshop is proud to present the ever timely drama, THE CRUCIBLE, on Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 5. Evening curtain is 7:30 pm and Sunday matinee is 2:30 pm. Tickets are $10 each and may be purchased on our website, by phone at 373-SHOW (7469), or at the door. 

   This very thoughtful and provocative play was written by Arthur Miller in 1953. The Tony award winning play reflected that historical time period - the McCarthy era in American history, where people, especially those who were in the literary, film and theatre industry, were accused of being Communists and were blackballed from employment. They also had to appear before the House of Representatives' UnAmerican-Activities Committee. Joseph McCarthy was a part of this whole Witch Hunt in the United States, but McCarthy was the chair of the Senate Government Operations Committee. Miller was called before the House Committee and was convicted of contempt against Congress because he refused to name people who had attended meetings. Such is reflected in the play, where many of the characters refuse to give information to Reverend Hale, or Judges Deputy Governor Danforth or Judge Hathorne. To remain silent but allow execution in the case of the victims of the Salem Witch trials or ruined careers of the McCarthy era is a brave thing indeed.

  Based much on history, this play reflects a time where lies by "naughty" little girls was believed over the reputations of beloved and honest citizens of Salem. This happened during 1692-1693 when a cow that had fallen dead, crops that could not grow, could easily be linked to a neighbor one did not like and the words "spell," and "witchcraft" could without hesitation be declared. Poppets, unknown and suspicious books, and the girls' fear that they would be discovered as frauds led to 20 people being executed and over 200 accused.  In 1711-1712, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and offered financial compensation to the families of those convicted.
  This play is so complex, and with so many layers, this writer encourages all to come and see for themselves how it speaks of history, both past and present. The play also shows through its story line that some of the Puritans were a bit scandalous in their behavior. The cast is as follows, leading off with the naughty, but pretending to be possessed, girls who started it all- Betty Parrish - Lily Schena; Abigail Williams-Cait Butler; Susanna Wilcott - Emma Dwaileebe; Mercy Lewis - Jazlynn Knapp and Mary Warren - Aidan Heaney. Their older friend, a servant, Tituba, is Sandy Mulryan; Sadie Jay Edwards is Rev. Parris; Angela Emley is Tom Putnam; Maria Welka is John Proctor; Chris Norton is Rebecca/Francis Nurse; Director of this production, Jake Riggs is Giles Corey; Rebecca Green is Rev. Hale; Sarita Schwindler is Elizabeth Proctor; Shelley Greene is E. Cheever; Kaitlin Field is J. Willard; Steve Riley is Judge Hathorne; DG Danforth is Benjamin Hollamby and Willa Edwards is Ruth Putnam. An excellent cast that has spent a great deal of time perfecting their performances to bring alive history! See you at the show! 
Aidan Heaney and Grace Ventura -
On Their Way to a Dream
The Olean Theatre Workshop is so very proud of two of their young students who have been with us since children. Aidan Heaney and Grace Ventura, both 16 and sophomores in high school, are attending the coveted NYSSA - New York State Summer School of the Arts Program- which includes the School of Theatre this summer. Their concentration will be theatre and both plan a professional career in this discipline. Though Grace and Aidan have wonderful vocal talents, this four week intensive arts program will be entirely theatre based. It is held at SUNY Delhi which is about 3 hours from Olean. The audition process to be accepted was intense, as each candidate had to perform a monologue from two selections - one classical and one contemporary. Aidan chose to portray Viola from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and for contemporary, Katherine from the play Proof. Grace performed as Phoebe from As You Like It  and acted a dream role of hers - Laura from Glass Menagerie. It is scholarship based but both girls had to raise or contribute $2,500. They also had to answer a series of questions related to their experiences thus far in theatre. Their "free" time away from school, homework, and classes at OTW involves reading an intense and lengthy reading list to prepare for their instruction by professional theatre people.

   The days are long and full of all things theatre. Starting at 9 in the morning and going to 9 at night, the students will be immersed in movement, acting and scene study, directing, play writing and masks, to name a few areas. It is very likely John Astin, Gomez, of The Adams Family TV show will teach a class in comedy. The students will attend a production in NYC and also present an end of course study performance for friends and family at the conclusion of the program.

    This writer spoke to both girls and the smiles on their faces and the joy in their voices say more than this article ever could. Both are good students, dedicated to studying their craft, and I hope to do a follow-up article with them upon their return. Aidan and Grace, break legs, make friends and learn so much. We send you off with love and pride!

Thirty-Five Years and Going Strong

     The lights never go off at Olean Theatre Workshop nor do people sleep - scripts are running through their minds. Plays are being read, plans are getting ready, potential directors are being involved, all to bring our audience the best in Theatre for the coming Season of 2019-2020. Will there be another INHERIT THE WIND? Perhaps it is time to do Twelve Angry Men but cast it with women? I REMEMBER MAMA has always been a delight, or perhaps Quilters, a long-time favorite of ours. Whatever shows are chosen, we at Olean Theatre Workshop thank our many supporters through the years and are grateful for your ongoing support. We hope to continue to enchant you, to give you food for thought, but most of all, to entertain you. See you at the shows! 
Copyright © 2019 Olean Theatre Workshop, All rights reserved.

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