Gainesville Theatre Alliance presents ‘The Crucible’

artwork depicting The Crucible

The Gainesville Theatre Alliance will perform Arthur Miller’s dramatic tragedy, The Crucible, from Feb. 16-24 at Brenau University’s Hosch Theatre, located inside the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts.

Written in 1953, the full-length play parallels the story of the 1692-93 Salem witch trials and actions by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940s and 1950s.

The plot follows four young women who hide their attempts at mystical activities by accusing others of witchcraft. In Puritanical Salem, fear of the supernatural is a breeding ground for paranoia. With no evidence and contrived accusations by the girls, mass hysteria grips Salem.

Greg Geffrard, associate artistic director of GTA, coordinator of acting, and assistant professor of theater at Brenau, delves into the female perspective of the tragedy as he directs the stage play, highlighting Abigail Williams’ story and how she may not be the villain she’s perceived to be.

“Mass hysteria is created simply through the idea of fear. It’s not a matter of mass misinformation; it’s a matter of folks getting increments of information and running with it without getting the full context,” Geffrard said, adding the audience should be extra attentive during the stage play. “Question if what you’re seeing is what you’re seeing.”

Geffrard is most excited for audience members to watch the opening scenes of the first two acts.

“I’ve added in movement sequences during Act One, and the courtroom scene in Act Two has some interesting aspects as well,” Geffrard said. “I believe that Act Two, Scene One, is going to get the most reaction as I’ve tried to contextualize and highlight the dynamics of the relationship between Abigail Williams and John Proctor.”

Aniston Kemmerer, a Brenau freshman studying musical theater who portrays Ruth Putnam, said the experience in her first performance as a cast member has been rewarding.

“Everyone is incredibly talented, and I look up to them, especially the other girls I work closely with,” Kemmerer said.

Kemmerer also shares her respect for Geffrard.

“Getting the opportunity to work with our director, Greg, has been wonderful. He has so much patience and respect for everyone working on the show and encourages each of us to check in with one another to make performing safe and comfortable,” she said.“He handles the heavy content that the show contains with such care, which has passed on to the cast and crew doing the same.”

Paris Aguilar gives insight into the work that goes on offstage as the production’s lighting designer. The Brenau senior theater major’s degree has an emphasis on lighting design and technology and performance. Last semester, she starred as the Dwarf in GTA’s, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

“The theme throughout my lighting design is the fear of the dark,” Aguilar said. “We as humans aren’t afraid of the dark itself, but what secrets and monsters hide in it. By exploiting our natural fear of the dark, I use shadows and defined light placement to make you see only certain things, whereas others lie in the dark. This adds to the fear of not knowing who is right or wrong and what happens when it’s all said and done.”

Tickets for the show can be purchased here or by calling the GTA Box Office at 678-717-3624. This production is recommended for older audiences.