13th October 2022
Writing: Leila Payze (Year 12)
Photography: Leila Payze (Year 12)
Editing: Nathan John (Year 12)
Despite the school being left relatively empty following the end of the day, there was a clamour of excitement in the sixth form Social Kitchen on Friday afternoon as we all gathered for registration. Today, we were going to head to the National Theatre in London to see The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953. It was about the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century, following the protagonist, John Proctor, and his efforts to defend his wife, and eventually himself, from accusations of witchcraft running rampant within a quickly deteriorating community. The play ends on a rather sombre note with the death of John Proctor, yet this comes to no surprise once finding out that the play was an allegory for McCarthyism, a belief that swept the United States around the time Miller wrote this play. When drawing comparisons between both the hysteria of witchcraft and McCarthyism, one like myself could argue that a tragic ending was necessary for such a story to be able to have any profound effect on the audience.
Despite my desire as an English A Level student to dive further into the various messages and implications Miller may have additionally been trying to get across in The Crucible, I’ll spare you for now and instead detail the events of the trip. Firstly, once we had arrived outside the National Theatre, we broke off into two groups and were given free reign to find a place to eat, albeit the range of our options were limited by how far we had permission to travel, after all, travelling from South Bank to, say, Soho, for some food would not exactly be the best of ideas at such a late hour. Whilst some of my friends split off and headed to Wagamama’s, I, seeing the terribly long queue, opted to stick with some of my classmates and have dinner at Pret a Manger. I won't get into too much detail about the food other than the fact that it was overpriced, as all things in London tend to be, and that the night time view of the Thames with all its lights was a very beautiful sight indeed.
As for the play itself, if there was one thing I and many others all remarked at, it was the rain effect they had implemented into the setting. The water acted as a curtain between various scenes, allowing actors and actresses to quickly change up the location and props on stage. It was remarkable, really, as I have never seen a play use such a technique before. It was not just this too, but also other elements of the sound and backdrop of the play aided in creating the perfect atmosphere of tension and claustrophobia, such as the use of rocks and ominous ambient music playing throughout the show. Though the play admittedly was not to my exact taste, as I have a preference for either musicals or Shakespearean-like performances, it was still a delight to see and I would recommend it to anyone interested in theatre or not.