The Crucible: Retrospective

Nagoya Players presents Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

(日本語は英語に続く) It’s been 15 years since I moved back to the USA, and in that time, I have never found a community of theater people like the Nagoya Players. Some actors do theater because they need to act and use their creativity to explore complex characters and bring them to life. I do theater because of the community created when putting on a production. This was the case with the Nagaya Players; seeing and working with these members was a way of connecting to like-minded people to create a sense of belonging and a sense of home in a place an ocean away from my own. How can I look at the plays I have done with the Nagoya Players and not feel sad that it is no longer a part of my life? I knew that whatever contributions I made to this group, I did not make in isolation, and I am so happy to hear that this group continues even after my peers and I have moved away.

I have many fond memories of this group and the plays I was a part of, but I think the play that stands out the most is The Crucible. This play had all the elements I seek when directing a play: a fantastic script with complex characters and significant meaning for what was happening in our world at that moment. Through The Crucible, we can see the parallels between what happened in 1692 and what happened in the early 2000s. Our production of The Crucible was in 2006, a few years after the government of the United States declared that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and therefore, the United States preemptively attacked Iraq. We would later learn, however, that there were no such weapons in Iraq, and our fear is what drove us to act fatally. Fear is also what drove the people of Salem, Massachusetts, to turn against their neighbors and friends and accuse them of witchcraft. Even the modern mind, with all its access to science and data, could still act irrationally like the Puritans of Salem.

Going into auditions, I thought I had an idea of who I would cast for the roles of Elizabeth and John Proctor; after all, our group was small, and I needed to know when I decided to direct this play whether or not I had the right actors to cast this show. I was unexpectedly surprised by Rachel Gollin’s reading of Elizabeth on the day of the auditions. I had only known Rachel as a theater techy; I had no idea she could act. When she read the part of Elizabeth, she had a sincerity about her, a quietness that also encompassed strength, and these were the elements I thought were essential for Elizabeth Proctor. This was one of my best decisions regarding this play because her performance was touching, and her connection to John Proctor (played by Dan Lesho) was genuine and honest. As for casting Dan as John Proctor, that, too, was a wise decision. Through Dan’s interpretation of this character, I could see the complexity of John Proctor, a man flawed by his affair with Abigail Williams (played by Andrea Penny) but also courageous to stand up against his accusers. I’ll never forget the rehearsal when Dan’s performance brought me to tears, so much so that I had to leave the rehearsal space to deal with my overwhelming emotions. But I was not the only one moved by Dan’s performance. One of the performance nights, as John Proctor went to tear up the letter that could have saved his life, an audience member yelled out, “No! Don’t do it!” In all my years of theater experience, I have never heard an audience member speak out like this, but I could understand why they did it. Dan’s Proctor was relatable and vulnerable and had a sincere kindness that the audience could root for. We wanted John Proctor to live; he deserved to live.

Although getting the casting right for the Proctors was essential to this production, they alone did not make this show memorable. The other cast members did a fantastic job. Michael Kruse as Reverend Hale and Brad Powers as Proctor’s adversary, Danforth, created a dynamic trio in the scene where John Proctor tears up the letter, and the tension in this scene was palpable. Prisca Molotsi did a fantastic job performing the role of Tituba in her debut for the Nagoya Players. Prisca also choreographed the opening dance scene, which shows Tituba leading Abigail and the other girls into a moonlight dance in the woods, which Abigail would later use to accuse Tituba and others of participating in witchcraft. This opening scene was not in the script, but, like the movie version with Winona Ryder and Daniel Day-Lewis, I added this scene because I wanted the mostly non-native English-speaking audience to have a visual understanding of Abigail’s accusations of witchcraft.

I wish I could say something about each of the actors in this play because they all added so much to this production; it was the entire ensemble that made this show what it was, and I am grateful to all of them, including one of the cast members who has since passed: David Olaf who played Samuel Parris. May he rest in peace.

Without the assistance of Hitomi Takeda as stage manager and Michael Walker as assistant director, this show would not have been possible. Hitomi kept our schedule organized, and she ran this show with such grace. Hitomi stage managed so many shows, and thank god she did because she is very good at it, and whenever I reminisce about the Players, her face immediately comes to mind. As for Michael Walker, he is one of the most competent directors I have worked with, and he is so skilled at bringing out the talents of even novice actors. He rehearsed scenes during the week because I could only do weekend rehearsals. For those who do not know, when I was with the Players, we usually rehearsed on Sundays when most people had off, and the rehearsal schedule lasted for three months. Trying to direct a show with only Sundays available wasn’t easy, so having Michael around to fill in the gap was essential to me, the cast, and the crew. 

It takes a dedicated community to create a play. I’m still doing theater; in fact, I just acted in a play last year with Theatre in the Round, and I am now a member of the Board of Directors for this group, but I still long for the days when I worked with the casts and crews of the shows that I directed for the Players. They were my community, my refuge, and I miss them dearly.

– Patti Gage, Show Director, The Crucible (2006)

Nagoya Players presents Arthur Miller’s The Crucible



私はたくさんの作品に関わり、多くの思い出が溢れてくるが、最も忘れ難い思い出は「The Crucible」 だろう。素晴らしい脚本に、複雑な人間性模様、現実世界で起こっていた問題を描いた演出をするのがとても面白い作品だった。時空も飛び越え、1692年から始まり、2000年初頭まで。上演したのは、アメリカ政府がイラクに先制攻撃を仕掛けたその数年後だった。イラクが大量破壊兵器を所有しているという理由だったが、後にそんなものは見つからなかった。恐怖がアメリカを駆り立てたのだ。恐怖心はまたマサチューセッツ州サーレムの人々をも駆り立てた。隣人や友人を敵対し、魔物であると非難した。科学的データに基づく現代社会においても、サーレムの革命のように人は不合理な行動を起こし得るのである。

そんな時にオーディションで、レイチェル ゴリンが演じたエリザベスが、私の予想をはるかに超えていた。彼女は、役をとても良く理解し、エリザベス プロクターを演じるのに必要な要素を全て兼ね備えていた。この決定が芝居の成功だったと思っている。彼女の演技は観客を魅了するものだったし、ダン レショが演じたジョン プロクターとのつながりも美しく真実のものだった。ダンのキャスティングも間違いなく、確実なものだった。

ダンのジョン プロクターは、ダンにジョンが乗り移っているかのような錯覚さえも覚えた。アンドレア ペニー演じるアビゲイルとの不倫を告発されても強く立ち向かう姿は、リハーサルの時にですら、私の心を動かし、涙を気持ちを抑えられず、涙が溢れ、席を立たずにはいられなかった。


ダンの演じたプロクターは、弱さや傷つきやすさにとても共感性があり、観客は彼を支えたいと思わずにはいられなかったのだろう。ジョン プロクターに生きていて欲しい、彼は生きるべきだと。

マイケル クルーズ演じるレバレンドとブラッドパワーがジョンの敵対役を演じ、3人で涙の手紙のシーンを作り上げた。
プリスカ モロッツィはティトゥバの役を演じ、華々しい名古屋プレイヤーズでのデビューを飾り、ティトゥバがアビゲイルや他の女性キャストを月明かりの森の中に誘うオープニングシーンのダンスの振り付けをし、このシーンはのちに大きな意味を持つことになる。このシーンは実は脚本にはない。だが、映画でウィノナ ライダーとダニエル デイルイスが演じている。

そして、惜しくも亡くなってしまったサミュエル パリスを演じたデービッド オラフ。どうか安らかに眠れ。

舞台監督として全面的に支えてくれた たけだ ひとみ。私の右腕として動いてくれたマイケル ウォーカー。この2人なくしてはこの芝居は成功しなかっただろう。

共に作品を作りあげた、有能な演出家マイケル ウォーカー。


– Patti Gage「The Crucible」(2006) 演出
— 有馬ちふ美 翻訳


Photography courtesy of Andy Boone.