The Crucible, 1956

The Crucible, 1956

Arthur Miller's play about a 17th-century witch hunt in America was first performed in New York in 1953. This is a 1956 production by the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. The play is set among the Puritan settlers of Salem, Massachusetts, where dancing is frowned upon and adultery is a serious offence. John Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth, are caught up in an uncontrollably fast-moving witch hunt, where teenage girls accuse members of their community of witchcraft - and are believed. Among them is Proctor's one-time adulterous lover, Abigail, who, still passionate about Proctor, points the finger at Elizabeth. The play was written during the McCarthyite 'witch hunts', which were taking place at the time. The US government took Hollywood artists suspected of communism to court. As in Salem, friends had to give evidence about friends who, if found guilty, were blacklisted. Some never recovered their careers again.