Wednesday, April 19, 2006

James Morrow's top ten books

on witch persecution. These top-ten lists at the Guardian are often pretty interesting, but this one's extremely well-written as well. Here's what Morrow has to say about Arthur Miller's famous witch-hunting play:

Is there anything quite so aesthetically dreadful as a bad production of The Crucible? I think not. Yes, all drama is melodrama, but in writing a tragedy about the Salem witch trials, Miller was running the risk of eschatological soap opera - which is indeed what happens when this play is ill-mounted or indifferently acted. Should you ever hear of a favourably reviewed Crucible, however, don't hesitate to attend: properly staged, Miller's critique of religiosity is a religious experience. If no such theatre-going opportunity lies at hand, your next best option is the printed text. True, the author occasionally departs from the historical facts, and his decision to frame the story as a dress-rehearsal for McCarthyism feels heavy-handed in retrospect. But this is a beautifully structured work, full of searing moments and resonant speeches.

What I want to read: Morrow's new novel The Last Witchfinder.

1 comment:

  1. The current RSC production of The Crucible is said to be excellent. My daughter and her friends saw it in Stratford in Feb, and enjoyed it a lot. The production has recently transferred to London; I've read several extremely enthusiastic reviews.