Right on the heels of the successful world premiere of “Alabama Story” comes yet another powerful production from Pioneer Theatre Company with “The Crucible.” Written in 1953 by Arthur Miller, “The Crucible” provides a narration of the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts Bay in 1692.
The key to staging a successful production of a dramatic play like “The Crucible” is compiling a cast that can live up to Miller’s high standards.
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“The cast is a force of nature. In my 30 years of acting, it’s probably one of the best casts I have ever been in,” said Fletcher McTaggart, who plays John Proctor. “It’s so rare when you can have all the aspects of theatre come together and be amazing. This is a powerful, powerful piece and I think the audience is not going to be able to take their eyes off the stage and will be on the edge of their seats.”
Miller gave audiences a theatrical gift in the form of John Proctor, who somehow manages to find his moral mettle as his world goes up in flames. Proctor is a character who, despite his sins, comes off as a tragic figure, which presents the role of a lifetime for McTaggart.
“When I was a kid, my grandfather told me that the most important thing in life is family, and that’s John Proctor right there. He had a moment of weakness when his wife was sick, and he is in a time when he could get executed for what he did, and he battles with taking responsibility for his actions,” McTaggart said. “Being inside of John Proctor, I can feel the weight that comes crushing down on him, and no matter how hard he fights, it just gets worse and worse, and the only choice he has is to save the people he will not speak out against.”
McTaggart has a diverse résumé, including a wealth of stage roles as well as film and television. While McTaggart enjoys the opportunities that film and television present, his drive comes from the thrill of being on stage.
“I love [film and television] both, but my true passion is theatre,” he said. “It’s one of the last true art forms where you can come together as a group and create something outside of yourself and the audience in a performance that will never be seen again.”
McTaggart is no stranger to the Utah theatre scene as he performed in PTC’s “Dial M for Murder” and has acted in several seasons at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
“I feel nothing but warmth and love when I come out on the stage in Utah,” McTaggart said. “The deep appreciation for theatre in this state is astounding to me. Utah audiences have a very open-minded and appreciative mindset when they come into the theatre.”
McTaggart stressed the importance of U students coming out to see Miller’s incredibly poignant and relevant play that delivers a strong social message.
“Reading a play and seeing a play are two different things, and being part of the audience means being part of the play. This play, from the moment it starts, grabs a hold of you and pulls you along and challenges you,” McTaggart said. “In my 30 years of theatre I can count on one hand shows that have been perfect in all aspects, and this is one that people will remember for the rest of their lives.”
“The Crucible” runs Feb. 13 through 28 at PTC. Tickets are available at the box office and online at www.pioneertheatre.org.