Theatre advances in UIL One Act Play with The Crucible


Emily Berthiume, Editor-in-Chief

The Clear Creek Theatre Department performed their UIL One Act Play The Crucible at Dickinson High School on March 24, advancing on to the next round and becoming the District 24-6A District Champions.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller dramatizes the Salem Witch Trials during 1692 and 1693, telling the story of married couple John and Elizabeth Proctor. Although the original play is in four acts, for the purpose of the competition it had to be cut down to one 40-minute act.

“Cutting is tough because in my opinion The Crucible is such a monumentally genius work,” head director Bradley Hewlett said. “To look at Arthur Miller’s words and just start gutting them, I hate it. It almost physically hurts to do it. It took me about five passes through to get the cut.”

The Crucible was not an immediate choice to perform this year for Mr. Hewlett.

The Crucible was always a script I said I would never do,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s one of the top ten American plays. It’s one of those I feel like you don’t mess with unless you feel you can do it well, especially for One Act. I always thought it was too tough for high schoolers, but this year during fall show I saw some of the progress the girls were making and it clicked and I felt like this is the right fit for us. The more I thought about it, the more I tried to talk myself out of it, and then I realized it is the right show.”

The biggest challenge the CCTD faced in this year’s production was their lack of stage and space for rehearsal.  Due to construction, the auditorium and accompanying stage was not available for any part of the rehearsal process. Instead, the actors had to make do with limited space in the cafeteria and borrow Falls’ stage for a couple of rehearsals and their pre-competition public performance.

“Rehearsing in a cafeteria was really hard,” Sierra Boudreaux, who played Tituba, said. “Not having a stage at all, and then being thrown onto a stage a couple days before competition day, was really hard because the dimensions of the cafeteria and the fact that we had no light board and barely any sound. It was completely different than performing on a proscenium stage.”

However, Boudreaux believes that their limited access to stage space may have helped their performance on competition day.

“Not having a stage made us stronger,” she said. “We didn’t take that time for granted. We tried our hardest when we did have a stage, which was only three times before competition. It really made our performance stronger because we appreciated what a stage could do for our performance.”

Because The Crucible is a period show, the actors were required to learn and nail tricky colonial-era American accents.

“The accents were difficult,” Cole Hutto, who played John Proctor, said. “Everyone was trying to go between Australian, Irish, and British, so it’s been hard. We improved a lot, though. I just tried to sound like Russell Crowe.”

District competition day went well for the CCTD. The show ran smoothly and was almost over when the lights went completely black on the stage.

“I knew as soon as the lights went off, I knew that we weren’t going to advance because I had never heard of a show advancing that didn’t finish,” Zoie Ellis, who played Elizabeth Proctor, said.

Boudreaux felt the same way.

“All the actors stay on stage the whole time, so there’s no where you can go to show any kind of emotion,” she explained. “Luckily, when the lights went down, my back was to the audience. As soon as the lights went black, it felt like ‘alright, we’re done.’ The cast started crying a little, and we tried to hide it, but it felt like a letdown.”

The play was running slower than usual, so the stage manager Jerrica Burke  who was calling the show decided to cut the lights in order to avoid exceeding the maximum time limit. Although the last bit of the show was cut off, the actors still felt confident in their performance.

“There was a lot of dialogue lost, but we still did really great,” Hutto said.

Mr. Hewlett was happy with final product of the show.

“The performances on contest day were the best they had done it,” he said. “Everything went exactly as well as I hoped it would, considering the limited time we had to practice on a stage. I told them I’d rather have a performance that good that didn’t end than having one a little faster that wasn’t as well acted.”

After they performed, the actors waited to hear the results.

“Going into competition day, you always hope you advance,” said Boudreux. “You put your heart and soul into your show for months at a time, so you hope, but you never know.”

When “The Crucible, Clear Creek High School”, was announced as the first advancing play, the cast and crew stood and clapped.

“When we were the first show they announced, and I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe it,” said Ellis.

“The feeling of advancement was better than it would have been had we been 110% confident in our performance,” Boudreaux said. “If everything had gone perfectly, it wouldn’t have been as exciting to advance.”

In individual awards, Ellis received All-Star Cast, Hutto received honorable mention, and Burke received a technical award.

The show then performed again at the Bi-District level at Dickinson HS on April 2. Although it did not advance to the area level, The Crucible did have a great run due to the hard work of the cast, crew, and directors.

“At the end of the day, it’s more about us just being kids and doing this art that we love,” Ellis said. “As long as we put on our best show and we feel good about our performance, that’s more important than any kind of award or advancement we can get.”