The Crucible

Witch hunts & fitting in: from Salem to Iran, the pressure to conform

'The Crucible' spurs examination of faith-based fear, group-think, and witch hunts

An Iranian-American girl, a gay man, and an ex-Seventh-day Adventist sit down for a chat at the Venetian Theater Bar.

The girl says, “When I visit my family in Iran, I dress in full hijab to stay out of trouble.”

“Depending where we travel, my partner and I pretend we’re just friends,” replies the gay man.

Meanwhile, the ex-SDA has ducked under their table, whispering, “I probably shouldn’t be seen in a bar or a theater, let alone BOTH!”*

Ba-dum, bum.

All kidding aside, this is the gist of a conversation I had last week with Bag & Baggage artistic director Scott Palmer and Hillsboro High School student actor/”Professional Development” program participant Melory Mirashrafi (pictured, lower left) at a rehearsal of The Crucible, which opens tomorrow. And I think what we were all getting at was that even though the original Salem witch trials have slipped into the mists of history, each of us has had a taste of the kind of societal scrutiny that (unfortunately) keeps the witch hunt premise fresh. The need to conform, and the threat of consequences if you don’t, is everywhere.

photo credit: Casey Campbell

photo credit: Casey Campbell

Crucible playwright Arthur Miller most certainly got his dose of the poison in 1947 when he was accused of being a communist and called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. When he refused to name his alleged fellow “reds,” he was held in contempt of Congress.


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