NT Live: The Crucible
A witch hunt is beginning in Arthur Miller’s captivating parable of power with Erin Doherty (The Crown) and Brendan Cowell (Yerma).
Raised to be seen but not heard, a group of young women in Salem suddenly find their words have an almighty power. As a climate of fear, vendetta and accusation spreads through the community, no one is safe from trial.
Lyndsey Turner (Hamlet) directs this contemporary new staging, designed by Tony Award-winner Es Devlin (The Lehman Trilogy). Captured live from the Olivier stage at the National Theatre.
A recording of a live performance from the National Theatre.
See the show notes at
Salem, 1692. A bout of mysterious illness that afflicts the local minister’s daughter leads to an outcry that there is only one possible explanation: it must be witchcraft. Blame is pinned on a group of young women, led by 17-year-old Abigail Williams. Reverend Parris accuses Abigail of dancing naked in the forest with the other girls. Abigail vehemently denies any kind of witchcraft, but out of sight of the adults she threatens to harm the other girls including Mary Warren if they speak a word about what they did.
John Proctor confronts Abigail, with whom he has had an affair. Abigail pleads for John’s affection, but he rejects her. With ailing young girl Betty still falling in and out of consciousness, the villagers call on Reverend Hale from neighbouring Beverly to find
the cause. Under pressure from Parris and Hale, Abigail accuses Tituba of calling the Devil. Threatened with hanging, Tituba confesses to witchcraft and names several other girls from the village.
At home, John and Elizabeth Proctor talk about the developments in Salem, where there is now a proper court with 14 people in jail accused of witchcraft. They argue over John’s affair which he assures Elizabeth is over. Discovering she was mentioned at court,
Elizabeth fears that Abigail plans to have her killed so that she can take her place with John.
More and more women are imprisoned on charges of witchcraft. Husbands of other accused women plead their wives’ innocence to no avail. John and Elizabeth Proctor are condemned. Elizabeth is saved from hanging as she claims to be pregnant. Months later, the couple reunite on the day of John’s hanging, when John asks for Elizabeth’s forgiveness. He confesses to witchcraft but refuses to incriminate anyone else. He tears up his confession and goes to his death an honest man.