By LAUREN SOVISKY
In 1692, Salem witches made a nasty brew. With Halloween slowly making its way into September, enwrap yourself with the ghosts and ghouls of Erie, or rather, some witches.
One local theater is embracing the thrilling holiday with a production based in a city only 500 miles east of Erie.
“The Crucible,” a dramatization of the Salem witch trials, will be playing at All An Act theater this month and next, and features a talented cast with some Gannon alumni.
What may have been a required reading assignment in high school, now takes the stage. “The Crucible” begins after an unusual “girls night out,” where a group of teenage girls dance in the woods.
Shortly after, the local reverend’s daughter falls ill and the thought of witchcraft as the cause quickly consumes the town of Salem.
A young farmer, his wife and a young servant-girl become the center of the town drama, each having a role of supposedly consorting with the devil. Trials ensue to uncover the truth, but unrequited love, intense jealousy and incessant lying keep the story moving.
First time All An Act director Joshua Mizikowski noted his excitement for the production, saying the more he works with it, the more he loves it.
The American classic, written by Arthur Matthews in 1953, resonates in many societies. The idea of pitting individuals against each other isn’t uncommon in many stories today; however, the addition of witches does add a little bit of fun.
“I’ve tried to hype the fear up a bit. While the supernatural aspects are questionable … I tried to play with those ideas of witchcraft a little more in the beginning of the play,” said Mizikowski.
Joining All An Act are two Gannon alumni, Nick Emmanuel from the class of 2007 and Jade Mitchell, from the class of 2014.
Mizikowski expressed how wonderful his time working with the two alumni has been. “[They] are absolute professionals and I think a lot of that comes from their Gannon background,” he said.
Emmanuel, currently a full-time teacher at McDowell High School, will play the role of John Proctor while Mitchell will portray Mary Warren, Proctor’s servant.
Both were frequent performers at Gannon’s Schuster Theatre.
After graduation, Emmanuel participated in the Schuster’s “Shakespeare Summer Nights” where he played Heny IV.
“Jade played one of my servants in one of her many roles,” Emmanuel said. “She and I are on-stage again together again, and she’s still my servant, and things still don’t go well for my character.”
The Crucible opens on Friday, Sept. 29, and plays on select dates through Oct. 15, at All An Act theater, located on 652 West 17th St.