Director: Doug Scholz-Carlson Scenic Design: R. Eric Stone Costume Design: Hayley Ryan Lighting Design: Jess Fialko Sound Design: Jacob Sikorski Stage Manager: Katy McGlaughlin
E.C. Mabie Theatre
Comments by the Designer
Written during the 1950s and through the lens of McCarthyism, The Crucible is a play about the Salem witch trials, which took place in 1692. It is a play that examines the falseness, the deceptions, and the ignorance that surrounded the Salem witch trials. Since the play was written during a time in which unsubstantiated claims were at a height, it is clear that the play was created as an allegory. When reading the play in a modern context, it is startling to realize how our modern society is also reflected in 1692 Massachusetts. For my costume design, I chose to forgo the historical silhouettes in favor of modern silhouettes in order to show the allegory in the play. For the women, I drew inspiration from Mennonite and Amish communities. The long sleeve and skirt hem lengths with the high necklines suggest a more conservative and restrictive society. The only character that breaks this convention is Abigail, who has short sleeves and a lower neckline, as she is the freest spirit. In contrast to the women’s conservative silhouette, I designed the men with a modern suit silhouette. The suits are intended to show a power structure with men at the top and women at the bottom.
Two costume details that I chose to incorporate from the late 1600s were the color palette and fabric choices. For the women, I found inspiration in period paintings that showed women and men in warm earthy tones such as yellow, pink, and orange. During my research I found that the color blue was associated with servitude and thus I designed Tituba in a blue dress. All of these dyes in the 17th century would have been obtained from natural sources, thus I wanted the colors to look as though they could have been hand dyed. Secondly, I chose to use natural fabrics such as raw silk, cotton, and linen, to mimic the texture and the availability of the natural fabrics used in the 17th century.
Overall, I designed The Crucible with modern silhouettes to strengthen the allegory of the play while also maintaining period details such as color and fabric choices.
Copyright 2017 Hayley Ryan