EHS 1963/4 Play

These are some scanned photos from the play that was to have been staged in late November, 1963. The play was The Crucible – a rather ambitious undertaking for high school. The play is ostensibly about the Salem witch trials, but is presumed to be a commentary on 1950's politics.

In 2005, while unpacking from our move to Montana, I found the paperback that served as a script. We were supposed to turn in the paperbacks after the play, but I doubt that anyone did. The pictures were taken by Karen Burfitt, the student manager for the play. I had taped the copies she gave me inside my “script” for safekeeping.

The play did not go on as scheduled due to the Kennedy assassination. We were concerned about how many people would show up since there was little notice for the new dates of the two presentations. I think the attendance at the delayed presentations of the play were higher than would normally be expected because people wanted to see something other than the aftermath of the assassination, which was about the only thing on TV for quite a while.

There are more pictures, but lighting was so poor that little can be made of them. I touched the following up with PhotoShop to improve the contrast.

Many thanks to Karen Burfitt, who took the pictures, remembered the name of our drama teacher and identified a number of the persons in the pictures.

(click on thumbnails to view a larger version)

Right: The modified cast list from the front of the book. I got first billing because I was the first person visible on stage, not because it was a lead role. I believe John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor were the main characters, but don't quote me on that. Somehow I missed who played Mrs. Ann Putnam. Some of the characters were played by persons in later graduating classes ('65 and '66).

Left: Giles Corey (Jim Spake) in makeup. Giles was a very old man; stage makeup has to be a bit severe to give the proper appearance to the audience. This picture was taken before some softening touches were added. The line I remember about Giles was: "More weight, he said, and died." Stones were piled on him in an attempt to make him confess (off-stage, of course). Since he died rather than confess one might presume he was innocent – such was Puritan justice! *

Right: The cast and crew in the makeup room before the play starts. The only person I recognize is (probably) John Keogh as Reverend John Hale, who is near the extreme right leaning back. To his dismay, John got the only laugh in the play when he made his appearance, but we never understood what was funny about it; probably it just broke the tension of the scene he walked into.

Left: Backstage during the play. A few of us had no appearance in the second act, so we rehearsed later acts during the play. Here I (as the reprehensible Reverend Parris) practice pointing the accusing finger at someone (not you, Karen ☺). Crew member Charlotte Carroll makes sure we are getting our lines right. The character sitting is John Danforth, played by John Wight.

Right: A picture from act 2. The two males in the center are Gordy Clark (left) as John Proctor and John Keogh (right) as Reverend John Hale. The female facing the camera is Mardell Palmer as Elizabeth Proctor, The other female is Janet Fornalski as Mary Warren. The other males in the background are too indistinct to identify.

Left: Tituba (Susan Zimmerman) in makeup. For those who don't know or remember: Susan is not black - that is all makeup. As I recall, she was a real card backstage and kept our spirits high in what was a pretty depressing time. Others in the photo are: Scott Jones at lower left, Mardell Palmer leaning over Susan, Karen Goransen looking at Mardell, and Nancy Hahn hidden behind Scott. (Thanks to Karen Burfitt for many of those id's!) This picture was taken during the makeup session prior to the play.

A few more memories from Gary.

Email from Karen Burfitt.

Please pass a link to this page along to anyone who might have been associated the the play.

* Giles brought about his own indictment and execution due to his feelings of guilt about incriminating his wife, resulting in her execution.