JESSICA ANNE NELSON
Director, Creator, Producer, Intimacy Director
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
WHEN EVERYONE IS SUSPECT, THE MOST DANGEROUS THREAT TO THE COMMUNITY, MAY BE THE COMMUNITY ITSELF
UBC Theatre Turns Arthur Miller's The Crucible into a Compelling Dark Comedy
“If this were the Salem setting of The Crucible, director Jessica Anne Nelson would definitely be accused of witchcraft. How else to explain her ability to reinterpret and revitalize playwright Arthur Miller’s classic 1953 allegory about McCarthyism as a mesmerizing meditation on inequality, gender, misogyny, and hypocrisy, and essentially turn it into a compelling dark comedy? … Nelson, who is an MFA candidate, exhibits a subversive fearlessness in deconstructing and recontextualizing a contemporary classic. Her Crucible signals a confident and exciting new voice behind the scenes." -- The Georgia Straight, Andrea Warner
The Crucible is a timeless parable of morality, a scorching indictment of intolerance, and a central work in the canon of American drama. In a tight-knit Puritan town in the late 17th century, a group of girls are discovered dancing in the woods and then immediately fall ill, causing panic to percolate. Buried secrets are brought to light, and scapegoating leads to treachery and betrayal. Miller himself was questioned by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended. MFA Director Jessica Anne Nelson puts a 2018 spin on this classic play: “The female characters have been oppressed for so long that rising up against the male centric theocratic control, initiates them to find their power and autonomy.”
Jessica was drawn to The Crucible’s portrayal of gender and power dynamics right from the start of the play when the girls go out into the woods to dance, sing, and run wild. We can observe how when people are forced into strict and unyielding gender rules and codes of behavior, both the women and men suffer. The characters were not able to pursue their passions or fulfill their personal goals because they are restricted. Furthermore, the women were consistently misused or abused by their male counterparts, and even by other females in their community. Over time, these mistreatments led many of the female characters to seek a release from their powerless roles. We have made great strides towards equality since 1692, but in many ways, we’re still trapped in these traditional ideals and can see the consequences of these power dynamics and oppression. Jessica's hope was that by keeping these aspects of the play in the forefront of their vision for the production, it allowed us to work towards a more equal world where we don’t have to push down some in order to raise others up.
Learn more about the Production HERE
Rebecca Nurse: Natalie Backerman
Abigail: Heidi Damayo
Reverend Hale: Jed Weiss
Reverend Parris: Louis Lin
Mary Warren: Olivia Lang
Elizabeth Proctor: Shona Struthers
Ann Putnam/Martha Corey: Sabrina Vellani
Giles Corey: Daria Banu
John Proctor: Aidan Wright
Judge Hathorne: Tebo Nzeku
Mercy Lewis: Daelyn Lester-Serafini
Betty Parris/Sarah Good: Cassandra Bourchier
Thomas Putnam: Matthew Rhodes
Francis Nurse: Tomas Balli
Susanna Walcott: DrewAnn Carlson
Tituba: Sophia Paskaladis
Herrick: Elizabeth Young
Cheever: Gray Clark
Danforth: Frank Zotter
Set Designer: Kimira Reddy
Costume Designer: Cora Wu
Sound Designer: Erika Champion
Lighting Designer: Ryan Yee
Stage Manager: Sony Tsai
Assistant Stage Manager: Emily Spenser & Ashley Kim
REVIEW: THEATRE AT UBC’S "THE CRUCIBLE"
"Feminism and witchcraft seem to be closely intertwined in pop culture, and it’s as true now as it was in ‘53.
Jessica Anne Nelson, UBC MFA Directing student, and director of The Crucible tackles Miller’s text with tactful, fresh outlook on gender roles and oppression that strike chords of relevance with contemporary audiences.
Nelson’s take on the play explores the knowledge of binary modes of behaviour, good and evil, and how it afflicts everyone based on their experiences and societal norms. What is compelling about her choices as a director is an emphasis on the young girls in this play reasserting their power over the male counterparts who have misused and abused them.
For viewers, this harkens to female-led movements in the Trump-era, where the oppressed have become outspoken in their opposition to their powerful counterparts and eliciting change in their pursuits." -- Loose Lips Magazine, Madison Fernway
"The Crucible" brings Arthur Miller’s Chilling Play to UBC
"After sitting through UBC’s production of The Crucible, you feel as if you have been touched by the Devil.
Through a combination of impressive acting, thoughtful set design and eerie sound effects, UBC Theatre creates an engaging and disturbing production of one of America’s most well known plays.
Throughout this production, Nelson wants to challenge the assumption that John Proctor is the hero of the story and Abigail the antagonist, encouraging audiences to consider the gender and age related power imbalances that were present at the time." -- The Ubyssey, Cassandra Betts