Principal Players Present “The Crucible”

Cayla Newman and Shira Shiber

Cresskill High School’s Principal Players presented Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” on Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7. The show drove many families, students, and staff members to see the production. The audience was filled with excitement as they watched a retelling of the Salem Witch Trials. Audience members were so satisfied with the results of the show, one going so far as to declare it “The best fall drama yet!”

But what made this year’s drama even better than those of other years? According to CHS students, watching the play after having read it for American Literature class was a particularly unique experience. (“The Crucible” is only the second show performed that has a parallel in the current English curriculum, with the first being “Candide”.)

Amanda Park, a tenth grade student in the audience of “The Crucible”, says that while watching the play, she “could really see the scenes that [she had] envisioned when reading the play.” Dana Peri, another student in the audience, expressed similar sentiments. Besides supporting her friends, one of the major reasons that she attended the play was “to see if it would meet [her] expectations.”

To say that Cresskill’s production of “The Crucible” met expectations would be an understatement. Peri states that “the acting was amazing and people really put 110 percent into their performance.”

Ms. Ofshinsky, director of “The Crucible” as well as fall dramas from previous years says that this year’s play was especially challenging for the cast, as it is populated by “significant characters that made our performers really dig deep into their emotions.”

But the challenge is decidedly intentional: each year, Ms. Ofshinsky chooses plays that will push performers out of their comfort zones and inspire them to improve.

Of course, this production was only as good as the cast’s exceptional chemistry. Audience members raved about the performance and how well the cast worked together. Chilling shrieks shook the audience as each “possession” unfolded onstage. Victoria Trinidad, who plays Abigail Williams, says, “the show contains some really intense and difficult characters to play, and I think we all did really well bringing those characters to life.” Dan Harel, who portrays John Proctor, agrees. “We built such a strong friendship over the past couple of months,” he says, “that we grew into becoming a family.” 

Along with many other staff members, Vice Principal Mrs. Cavins was spotted in the audience of Friday night’s show. During intermission, Mrs. Cavins shared her belief that “this level of talent is way above what you would normally see in a high school production.” She mentioned the variety of acting opportunities the students at Cresskill have, and how she finds drama that focuses on “just acting” to be particularly refreshing.

Ms. Ofshinsky reflects on the hard work the cast and crew put into each rehearsal and performance, and comments that “every production is different, and presents its own hurdles, but I think the cast met each one with a positive attitude and came together in support of each other.”

The excitement continues, as the cast list for this year’s spring musical, “Curtains”, is to come out this Sunday, December 15. The fall drama is a tough act to follow, but Cresskill’s Principal Players keep surprising with each performance.