This is a sample from my design for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, directed by Tony McKay at Carnegie Mellon.
The design concept for this production was that while Miller’s written words speak for themselves, the transitions between acts were used to shed light (and sound!) on the playwright’s allegory, comparing what happened in Salem in 1692 to what was happening in the US in 1953. To achieve this, I created my own blend of eerie natural soundscape combined with music that, at the time, was responding to the heated political climate of McCarthyism: movements like minimalism and musique concrète in classical music, and composers like Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Cage, and others.
At the end of Act One, as the girls of the town begin shouting the names of persons they have allegedly “seen with the devil,” their voices begin to reverberate around the audience and engulf them in the chaos. When the excitement finally reaches its crescendo, a character onstage sounds an alarm bell, the lights dim, and a line of actors move to the front of the stage and sing the hymn “Jesus Shall Reign” while the set changes behind them. Finally, the loud bells and chaotic winds give way to a peaceful, serene soundscape, and the lights come up on the house of John Proctor, where we begin Act Two.