The Christendom College Players put audiences through an emotional roller coaster this past weekend, bringing their trademark skill and passion to Arthur Miller’s famed The Crucible. A dark, tragic story revolving around the Salem Witch Trials, The Crucible brought out the best in Christendom’s pool of acting talent, resulting in a haunting production that left audiences cheering and challenged.
Packing hundreds into the theater for each of its four performances, The Crucible featured vibrant costumes, exquisite production design, and an incredibly young cast. The show was directed by a current student, senior Madeleine Trull, who stepped into the role for the first time after appearing in close to thirty shows over the course of high school and college. Despite the heaviness of the material, Trull excelled in the role, resulting in one of the college’s most acclaimed shows.
“Directing was an adventure into the unexpected. I thought I knew what it was going to be like, but the real experience exceeded every expectation. I was given the privilege to watch the students blossom. The opportunity to work with my fellow students to decide upon the set, costumes, and music allowed me the ability to create a consistent and beautiful picture that became the world of the play,” said Trull. “The Crucible is an extremely hard play. Despite the difficulty, each student rose to the challenge. They completely became the characters transforming themselves into the mindset of the late 1600s. The sheer intensity of their emotion brought me to tears every single performance.”
Under the direction of Trull and longtime producer Dr. Patrick Keats, the cast did a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life. Sophomore Trey Dusseault hit the stage for his third Christendom performance after turns in Father of the Bride and Les Miserables, playing the lead role of John Proctor. The intensity of the role revealed new levels to Dusseault’s talent, resulting in a riveting performance. Other character highlights included freshman Ashley Way’s turn as antagonist Abigail Williams, junior Richard Blank’s sympathetic performance as Reverend John Hale, and freshman John Howard as the power-hungry Thomas Danforth.
Christendom productions often attract students who have never performed on stage before, as they jump at the opportunity to audition and actually obtain a role — something that is difficult to do at other colleges without majoring in theater. Such an opportunity was appealing to sophomore Mary Katherine Mooney, who never performed in a show until The Crucible. One never would have guessed this was the case, however, with her performance as maidservant Mary Warren gaining some of the highest marks of any of the cast.
“The show was really important for me because it was such an exciting, new, and interesting outlet. This was the first time I had been in a play and I honestly found it so intriguing to be someone else. There is a sort of raw thrill of walking on stage and delving into your character,” said Mooney. “Performing in Christendom’s production of The Crucible has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve participated in on campus. As my first play, I could not have asked for a better cast or crew. I was so proud to be a part of such a moving production.”
Mooney also had high praise for her director and producer, calling Trull “absolutely phenomenal” and Keats “wonderful.”
“It was so special to be working so closely with a faculty member in a task outside of the classroom. His passion for and gift of teaching English and literature was brought to life with the play,” said Mooney of Keats.
While Christendom does not have a theater major, it offers students many opportunities throughout the year to perform on stage, whether with the Christendom Players or at the college’s many talent nights throughout the year. To find out more about the college’s fine arts offerings, click here.