‘The Crucible’ presented by HVA Advanced Theater

Hardin Valley Academy senior Lucas Cunic reflects in front of the gallows as he prepares to portray John Proctor in HVA Advanced Theater Department’s production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” which will be presented starting at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29; and at 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, in the school auditorium.
Hardin Valley Academy’s 2018 Advanced Theater students are presenting Arthur Miller’s

historical play, “The Crucible” this weekend.

Showtimes begin at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29; and 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, in the school auditorium, 11445 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets, which are $5 for students and $7 for adults, will be sold at the door only.

“’The Crucible’ is a staple in the Language Arts Department all over the country,” HVA theater teacher Robert Warren said. “It has been taught here every year that I’ve been here; so I’ve had a lot of people in the English department, which I’m technically a member of, who have been bugging me for years to do it.”

However, the play is very male-heavy, Warren said. “It requires a lot of guys with experience, and I haven’t had as many guys as I had wanted, in the past, to do it,” he said.

The experience and maturity is needed because, he said, “It’s emotional, and as actors, they need to get on stage and understand how to do characters deeply.”

Also, Warren added the play is historical with a lot of heavy information.

“It’s based on the historical evidence of the Salem Witch Trials,” he said. “There were hangings in Salem. It’s all about jealousy and revenge.”

This year, Warren said he has enough male students with enough experience to portray the characters.

“I’ve got a lot of juniors and seniors who are in really heavy classes,” he said. “If you are going to tackle heavy material like this, these are the types of kids you need — ones with experience and intelligence to pull it off.”

The play is set in the Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692, when Salem was populated by Puritans who still believed in and feared witchcraft.

The production includes a cast of 28 — with 22 characters and the rest extras — and a backstage crew of about a dozen.

“It’s a reasonably small show for us,” he said.

HVA senior Lucas Cunic is cast as John Proctor, the main character and protagonist.

“He is a real interesting character because he’s a flawed Christ-like figure,” Cunic said about his character. “He deals with a lot of heavy emotions.

“(Proctor is) concerned about trying to restore his marriage and the Town,” he added. ”It’s hard to feel (the emotions of) trying to (accomplish) that restoration.”

“John Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams, a local girl portrayed by senior Savannah Estes,” Warren said.

“I’ve never played an antagonist before, so I’m excited,” Estes said. “I’ve wanted to try that (part). I’ve always played the innocent character.

“She has high emotions — from fear to anger and lust,” Estes said of Abigail. “It’s hard to play those emotions without appearing over-dramatic.”

“(Abigail) gets jealous and gets a bunch of other people to start claiming there are women in the town who are witches — one of them being his wife (portrayed by Sarah Howell),” Warren said.

“On the outside, she looks like she’s not a character that has a lot of depth, but once you start reading her lines and playing her, you can read between the lines, and there’s so much you can do with her character,” Howell, a junior, said about Elizabeth Proctor.

Another main character is Judge Danforth, portrayed by junior Lance Banard. “He’s an excavator of people’s souls and purifier of them,” he said. “His purpose is to purify the land of all evil and all manifestations of the devil.

Portraying the judge is “kind of daunting, a little bit, because it is a larger role, and he’s a larger kind of guy,” Banard added.

“I think the challenge is maintaining (Danforth’s) composure but also his anger.”