The Crucible: use of performance space

The Crucible: use of performance space

The Crucible Performance Space for AQA Drama GCSE Exam

Traditional vs Alternative Staging

  • The Crucible is traditionally staged in a proscenium arch which encourages a ‘picture frame’ perspective as the audience looks directly onto the stage from one side. This viewpoint can deepen the viewers’ engagement in the play’s dramatic tension as they feel like bystanders witnessing a trapped situation.
  • Alternatively, the play can be staged on a thrust or ‘three-sided’ stage, heightening the feelings of paranoia and suspicion. Characters are frequently ‘watched’ or ‘judged’ by others, mirroring the societal pressure conveyed in the narrative.

Importance of The Setting and Usage of Props

  • The central ‘public’ spaces of Salem, such as the Parris household and the courtroom, are significant in shaping the narrative. The character placement in these spaces often highlights their socio-political standing
  • Props and lighting play a crucial role in defining the performance area. Dim, muted lighting and minimalist, rustic props can heighten the tension and reflect the austerity of the Puritan society.
  • The transformation from ‘public’ spaces to ‘private’ ones, such as Proctor’s home, is often marked by different lighting, colors, or reduced use of props. These transformations mirror the characters’ emotional transitions from public conformity to personal struggles and moral dilemmas.

Role of Entrances and Exits

  • Entrances and exits play a significant role in depicting power dynamics. Characters in control often have the power to initiate and exit at will, while less powerful characters remain confined.

Levels and Movement

  • Different levels are frequently used to reflect the societal hierarchy. Characters in powerful positions often occupy higher platforms, signalling their dominance while the oppressed stay closer to the ground level.
  • The physicality and movement of the characters within the stage also greatly enhance the dramatic effect. Emotional states like tension, fear, and angst are often communicated through characters’ proximity, direction of movement, bodily expressions, and their positioning relative to each other.