Pulling down heaven


Richard Armitage in The Crucible at the Old Vic

Last week I went to see The Crucible. I’ll be honest and say that Richard Armitage was part of the attraction (well I’m only human).

I read the play when I was at school, and loved it, I had an amazing English teacher who made everything come alive, so now when people say ‘Shakespeare/ Dickens/ Hardy (delete as applicable) is difficult/ out moded-  I find it difficult to relate to.  Also the whole McCarthy witch hunt era I find totally fascinating.

The Old Vic was totally full, and the atmosphere was shimmering with apprehension and excitement, nothing compares to seeing theatre, the awareness and absorption of others emotions for me really enhances the actors performances. And I felt so much while watching The Crucible.  It was a wonderful and powerful production.  Anger, that ‘sensible’ people would believe unsubstantiated stories about others, that off the cuff comments get repeated as truths, that fear allows hatred and suspicion to breed and become ‘king’. Empathy that a mistake can take over  the fabric of life and cast a shadow over everything of value. When John Proctor and Elizabeth see each other after being imprisoned at the end of the play, I was reduced tears (along with everyone else) over the brutally honest intimacy.

Talking the following day, while I was gushing over the production, performances and all round gloriousnesses of The Crucible someone said to me, ‘but it’s not relevant anymore’. Really ?  Religious fundamentalism, terrorism in the name of God, homophobia -The Crucible could be about any of these things.

Its as relevant today as it was when it was written, which in a way, is rather sad.

I struggled to find a song that complements this, so here is one that I am really enjoying






2 thoughts on “Pulling down heaven

  1. It is ALWAYS relevant because it is about the individual conscience against social imperatives: that happens daily. Maybe it’ll stop being relevant when we are no longer familiar with oppression and the persecution of the innocent. “They speak of me in the court?” “You were somewhat mentioned.” (Four of the most frightening words in literature, but oh so true. Sorry if I flubbed anything, I’m quoting from memory.)

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