DIRECTOR Matt Edgerton isn’t interested in telling an audience what to feel.
He wants to ignite people’s minds with topics and concerns that linger long after the show has ended.
“Theatre is terrible at teaching but great at asking questions,” Edgerton said.
The Subiaco theatre maker, actor and Barking Gecko Theatre Company artistic director brings Arthur Miller’s classic 1953 play, The Crucible – dramatising the Salem witch trials of the 1600s – to the WAAPA stage this month.
“Some of the ideas floating in my head are how do we reclaim a sense of civic responsibility and how do we resist the forces that turn us into self-interested individuals?” he said.
“How do we listen more deeply, particularly at this moment in history, and empower those that have been marginalised and how do we not give in to fear and scapegoating?
“There are a lot of those questions in the play but I don’t think Miller has clear-cut answers – it’s more a big provocative work of art and hopefully people walk out of the theatre asking those questions themselves and wrestling with those ideas.”
Do not expect bonnets and puffy shirts in this adaption, performed by third year WAAPA actors.
Edgerton, a ’99 WAAPA grad, creates a new and ambiguous world with the help of the academy’s student designers.
“It’s a very familiar work – you mention it and people say: ‘Oh, The Crucible, that’s one of my favourite plays, I did it at school’,” he said.
“We thought: ‘Let’s take on the challenge to create a society that is deeply conservative and religious – all the things from the text – but let’s not put it in a particular period. Let’s invent a world’.
“With the costume and set design, you could look at it and think it could be taking place today in rural Australia or rural America.”
What: The Crucible
When: March 16-17 and 19-22
Where: Geoff Gibbs Theatre, ECU, Mt Lawley