Article by: Zaineen Karim
Photos taken by: Ji Yoon Kang
Anticipation and excitement fill the Fine Arts Theatre (FAT) as over forty actors stand in a large circle on stage. Some size up their competition, others chatter nervously and wonder what to expect. Some have been doing this for several years: we’ve seen them up on stage for multiple productions. Others are rookies auditioning for the first time. Nevertheless, they’re all here for the same reason: to audition for this year’s production, The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
The Crucible, originally presented in 1953, is an intense play that tells the tale of the Salem witch trials that took place in 1692. The play uses the witch trials as a metaphor for the trials of accused communists in the 1950s, in order to criticize the government for its unreasonable views and treatment towards these individuals.
Ms. Hillman, the head of the Fine Arts department at ISM and the director of this year’s productions, calls it “a real slow burner. It’s very dark and twisted from the very beginning. It hooks you in with some very interesting scenes and you’re put through an emotional wringer.”
According to Arianna Cu, an actor who has taken the stage at IASAS as well as in multiple school plays in previous years, “The best part of the play is that there are so many significant characters that have great character arcs. With this play we cannot hide behind anything else other than our performance since the emotions are so raw and real. As someone who loves to perform and to act, it’s definitely daunting to hear that, but also extremely exciting as it’s a new challenge. ”
This year, she is auditioning for the part of Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of the protagonist. “What I found compelling about the character was that Elizabeth is a complex character in such a subtle way in the sense that a lot of her conflict is internal and is not directly spoken throughout the play,” she explains.
Josie Davis, a junior who has been doing theatre for a few years, was nervous about her audition. “I feel like I totally messed up, but I’m pretty sure everyone is always very critical of themselves after an audition. It’s pretty nerve-wracking up there,” she says.
Ahona Salsabil is on the other end of the spectrum. This was her first audition and she attended in order to try something new and step out of her comfort zone. “The audition was definitely a new experience for me. We were divided into groups to evaluate how well we work in groups since the ensemble requires collaboration among the members,” she says.
To any of you who are considering auditioning in the future, Ms. Hillman looks for three major qualities in an actor: preparedness, the ability to push your own boundaries, and a good understanding of the character. Auditions can be scary, but being part of a theatrical production is a very unique experience; in fact, it’s something worth putting on your bucket list.
The play in question has some of the most interesting lead female roles and has been performed all over the world. Some of the roles are very difficult to portray, but Ms. Hillman believes the actors at ISM are capable of putting together an awesome production. The Crucible will be performed late September so be sure to come and cheer on the brave Bearcats who will, without a doubt, put on an amazing show.