Enrapt set to present ‘The Crucible’

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — The latest production from Enrapt is all about how one lie snowballs, becoming hurtful — and even deadly.

Enrapt’s production of “The Crucible” opens this week, according to director and company founder Breann Griffin-Nicholson.

The show runs Thursday through Sunday..

Showtime is 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Sunday show is a 3 p.m. matinee.

There’s no cost to attend, but Enrapt does accept donations, Griffin-Nicholson said.

The show will be performed at the amphitheater in Pickens. The company’s last show, “Our Town,” was performed on the front lawn of Enrapt’s home, the former Bradley-Boggs House.

“The Crucible” is about the Salem witch trials, Griffin-Nicholson said.

“The play is based on the story of John Proctor, his wife, Elizabeth, and Abigail Williams, the young girl John’s had an affair with,” Griffin-Nicholson said. “That was very frowned upon in the 1600s, even more so than it is now.”

Williams seeks to replace Elizabeth as Proctor’s wife. So she and her friends begin telling tales and casting accusations of witchcraft at fellow townspeople.

“It’s a story of jealousy, deceit and a lot of judgment,” Griffin-Nicholson said. “It’s a huge lie — they get really caught up in it. It’s a really intense play, for sure.”

Though the play is a period piece, playwright Arthur Miller wrote “The Crucible” as a reaction to what was happening around him.

“Arthur Miller wrote this in the 1950s, when there were a lot of big Communist scares going on,” Griffin-Nicholson said.

Accusations of being a member of the Communist Party ended many careers during the “Red Scare.”

“All of these people were being judged,” Griffin-Nicholson said. “People in the media, even his wife at the time, Marilyn Monroe. That’s why he ended up writing it.”

Pickens High School English teacher Dr. Ashley Butler, who will act in the play, said that, in addition to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Miller drew inspiration from the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1950s.

“Miller’s message centers around the sense of security that conformity can bring,” she said.


Rocky Nimmons/Courier
The cast of Enrapt’s production of “The Crucible” recently performed scenes from the play outside the company’s home at the historic Bradley-Boggs House in Pickens during the Azalea Festival in preparation for this weekend’s series of shows.

Griffin-Nicholson first read the play in high school. “The Crucible” is a staple of Butler’s English honors classes at Pickens.

In fact, that’s what led Griffin-Nicholson to choose the play as Enrapt’s next production.

“A lot of my actors have read it already,” she said. “To get the high schoolers more involved and engaged, I could connect it with their school work. Plus, I just love the show so much.”

The play still resonates today, she said.

“Today’s world is full of judgment,” Griffin-Nicholson said. “I just think it really connects with politics, how everyone is in everyone’s business. It shows when you lie, when things get started like this, what a mess it can turn into. John Proctor speaks of his name, his reputation. It shows a lot of relevancy.”

The director and her cast often discuss the show.

“We ask, ‘What are we trying to tell the audience with this?’” Griffin-Nicholson said. “What we say about each other is so important. The cast has related it to cyber-bullying, how somebody says something about a kid and they kill themselves over it. It’s really important to know what our actions do to one another.”

Many familiar faces from Enrapt’s production of “Our Town” return for “The Crucible.”

Charles Griffin, an Enrapt board member, plays Deputy Governor Danforth.

“Danforth is somewhat arrogant, overly sure of himself, and does not like to be wrong,” Griffin said. “He is the judge of the witch trials and has to judge many of the people and essentially, sentence them to death or jail time.

The play’s message is about “how lies can be spun into a huge web that can consume an entire community,” Griffin said.

“The entire village of Salem gets caught up in the web when a few girls cry witchery on many of the people in the village,” he said. “Everyone becomes consumed, and it leads to more and more chaos.”

Danforth is an about face from the last character Griffin played.

“I have enjoyed playing this more serious, stern role, which was very different than my role last fall as the town drunk in ‘Our Town,’” he said.

Butler, who played Louella Soames in “Our Town,” plays Tituba.

“She is the West Indian servant of the town minister, Reverend Paris,” Butler said. “Tituba plays a pivotal role in making the first accusations of witchcraft.”

Some actors are making their debut in an Enrapt performance.

Erin Wilson received a B.A. in drama from Carson-Newman University. She plays Abigail Williams, who sets the plot and the hysteria in motion.

She enjoys “becoming someone who you are not, taking on a different personality.”

“I am a 36-year-old playing an 18-year-old,” she said. “Abigail is a vain, conniving individual. She has one goal — to make John Proctor hers — and does not care what has to be done to ensure said goal is achieved or who is hurt in the process. It is all about her.”

Wilson says the play can be summed up in one word — judgment.

“All it takes is one act, or ill feelings toward an individual, for someone to grasp the one loose thread and cause the teeniest of lies to grow until a whole town is judging each other and the most innocent of lives are lost,” she said.

Deidre Brown, a Pickens High School student, has been involved in many plays at the Foothills Playhouse, including “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” She’s been performing since she was 7.

She plays Elizabeth Proctor.

“Elizabeth is the good character,” Brown said. “She and Rebecca are the only two people who never give in to the hysteria in Salem. Despite John’s mistakes, she never stops believing that he is a good man, and she supports him to the end.”

Brown says the play acts as a warning.

“Arthur Miller shows us that blame and lies will only bring trouble on everyone,” she said.

Enrapt and its location are a dream come true for Griffin-Nicholson, who grew up in the area. She said she was always fascinated with the Bradley-Boggs House.

“I used to tell my parents, ‘That’s going to be my theater,’” Griffin-Nicholson said.

When she saw the “For sale” sign go up on the house, she began pursuing her dream, sending the owners her business plan for the property in 2014.

“I was very persistent,” Griffin-Nicholson said. “I called over and over.”

The owners were on board with the plan, and “we just started going with it,” she said.

The company held auditions for “Our Town” last year, began offering classes and also produced a Christmas showcase.

“We had a lot of support,” Griffin-Nicholson said. “We want to continue doing the shows. I think the community is really enjoying the shows in general.”

Future goals include renovating the Bradley-Boggs House to create a venue for the arts. Fundraising is underway.

“Our mission is to create a passion for the arts and bring the arts to a small town,” Griffin-Nicholson said.

To learn more about Enrapt, visit