Crucible by nightThe cast of “The Crucible” takes to the Essex County outdoors to set the mood for the atmospheric drama. photo by Gordon McCall

Dark drama on offer on University Players stage

University Players presents the eternally relevant classic, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, for 10 performances November 21 through 30, at Essex Hall Theatre.

A dark magic consumes the town of Salem, Massachusetts. When two young girls claim to have been influenced by sinister witchcraft, they point accusing fingers at unsuspecting townsfolk for making secret deals with the Devil. These harsh accusations swell to massive proportions until no one is safe from suspicion.

Miller’s hair-raising classic unmasks deadly truths about the nature of humanity and the terrifying ends to which a society, blended by suspicion and mass hysteria, will go. The Crucible was written in 1953 about the 1692 witch hunts but the story and its relevancy is “ever-green,” says director Gordon McCall.

“In addition to its remarkable characters, gripping story and profound exploration of justice and humanity, the play speaks boldly to our contemporary social dilemma in our era of uncontrolled social media where reputations—and lives—are often destroyed by vicious gossip and innuendo,” McCall says. “This play reminds us of the importance of maintaining vital principles such as integrity, honour and basic human decency.”

Saturday matinees are new this season. Wednesday through Saturday performances are at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. On Sunday, November 23, a “Talk Back” discussion with the director and actors will follow the performance.

Tickets can be ordered online at or by calling 519-253-3000, ext. 2808.