McMurry Theatre Presents ‘The Crucible’: A Director’s Vision on Stage and Society

Issue 23: January 31, 2024

In the quaint dark space of McMurry University’s Ryan Little Theatre, the forthcoming production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” under the insightful direction of Penny Ferris, promises not simply a play but an exploration of societal complexities.

In an exclusive interview with Ferris, a Senior Theatre BFA student, their passion for storytelling, scenic design, and the powerful themes embedded in Miller’s classic shined through. “I really enjoy scenic design and painting. I’m trained in musical theatre, but I really fell in love with the art of sets,” they shared, reflecting on their artistic journey.

Ferris’s choice of “The Crucible” as their current directorial project was deliberate, aiming to amplify crucial messages embedded in the narrative. “I think it says a lot of important things that need to be heard. I want people to think about what it means after they see the show,” Ferris explained.

Penny Ferris

As challenges in translating Miller’s script to the stage arose, the collaborative spirit within the cast and crew became the sword and shield of the creative process. “Working with everyone has been my favorite. Everyone is so open to ideas and aren’t afraid to try things. It’s a collaborative experience for everyone,” Ferris noted.

Delving into the themes of “The Crucible,” Ferris emphasized the modern relevance of the narrative, particularly in its commentary on religious extremism. “I think the church is not talked about enough on stage. Mainly, the extremist, evangelicalism side of it. It can be very damaging, and I think ‘The Crucible’ highlights how far it can go, and how far it has gone since,” Ferris observed. Encouraging audiences to approach the production with open minds, Ferris underscored the importance of contemplating the underlying commentary on the portrayal of women and questioning those in power. “There is a lot of meat in this show, and there are a lot of important messages being shown in it,” urged Ferris.

As McMurry Theatre prepares to strike the gavel on “The Crucible,” the stage is set not only for a theatrical experience but for a thought-provoking journey through history and a plea for critical reflection. The production, set to debut on February 8th, running to the 11th, beckons audiences to engage in a dialogue that transcends time in and reverb the echoes of societal struggles, urging everyone to question authority and make their own choices.

In Ferris’s view, the play is an important commentary on the current socio-political climate. “Now that we’re entering another election year, I think it’s important to think about what the people you’re voting for are saying, and if it is the right thing,” Ferris remarked.

For ticket information and showtimes, interested patrons can click here. The production is slated to tackle not only historical injustices but also shine a spotlight on the potential dangers of extremist ideologies within religious institutions, making “The Crucible” a timely and relevant exploration. The stage is set, and McMurry Theatre invites the community to witness the powerful unfolding of “The Crucible.”