Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Crucible never gets old.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller cemented his reputation as a major playwright at a very early age. It deals with the Salem witch hunts and was used as a parable to mirror the McCarthy communist witch hunts in the 60s. As my first sketch opportunity after returning from Australia, I went to Lake Minneola High School (101 North Hancock Rd Minneola Fl) to see a run through of this student production being produced and directed by Kaitlin Elizabeth Baxter.

The school seemed like a fortress or prison as I approached at night. Tall fences surrounded the entire school and a locked gate blocked me from parking near the performing Arts building. I must have grown up in much more innocent times.  I circled back and drove around the school looking for an gap in the fence. I found an opening on the opposite side of the school and parked near the bus loading zone. The gates to the school inner compound were unlocked, and I asked a student to point me towards the Performing Arts Building. Kaitlin had left one of the lobby doors open.

In the theater, the run through was already in progress. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, Kaitlin welcomed me. I found a spot up front and started to sketch. John Proctor, (Daniel Santos) and his wife Elizabeth (Briana Barnett) felt that their marriage was under attack by Abigail (Bella Martinez) who was accusing Elizabeth of witchcraft so she could have John to herself. John had an affair with Abigail but wanted to stay true to his wife. At the witch trial Abigail screams in horror and points at an unseen menace. All the young girls follow her lead and join in the hysteria which mystifies and spooks the religious court. There is something truely terrifying about a group of girls acting together as a pack.

There were several long awkward pauses in the second act in the midst of an argument on stage. Even a short pause can feel like an eternity as an actor searches for a line. In a high school lab, I was once asked by a theater teacher to pretend I was on a boat leaving port and my loved ones were on the dock. It was a fun acting exercise that I embraced and enjoyed, and I suppose he wanted to see if I had what it takes to be an actor. I was already addicted to sketching, so I didn't go on stage. I admire anyone who is brave enough to stand in front of an audience. As an artist, I never actually see the people who view my work. They are filtered behind the curtain of the Internet. As a senior in high school, I partied with the theater students. It was a fun boysterous group to be with and I suppose they fueled my need to always stand on the sidelines to watch the magic and hard work of theater. It is possible that a student in this production might find they to could become addicted to the siren's call of theater. It is a calling that can last a lifetime.

The Crucible
Where: Lake Minneola High School -Performing Arts Building 101 North Hancock Rd Minneola Fl
When: Nov. 15th at 7pm -Doors open at 6: 30pm
Tickets: $5 for Students & Seniors $7 for Adults
-Purchase at the Door
-Reservations: Email or call 352-394-9600 ex: 5168

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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