(Feingold’s article appeared on Theatermania, 4/22.)
"God's icy wind" does indeed blow onstage at one point in Ivo van Hove's new production of The Crucible, as predicted in the well-known speech that closes the play's Act 2. A wolf briefly roams the stage (actually it's a well-trained Tamaskan, a new breed with a lupine look), as wolves roamed Salem's roads in 1692. A girl levitates, as "bewitched" girls ostensibly did in Salem (and as Rwandan girls apparently did in the events dramatized last year in Katori Hall's Our Lady of Kibeho). Whatever one thinks of van Hove's direction (of which this is not a review), it evokes, undeniably, the source material in which Arthur Miller's familiar play is steeped. That grounding inevitably makes me think about the parallels between the Salem village witchcraft trials and the anti-Communist witch hunts of Miller's own time, both ancient events that still resonate today.