It was over 300 years ago when people in Massachusetts were accused of practicing witchcraft. The story of the Salem witch trials is now used as a cautionary tale about religious extremism and false accusations.
It is the storyline for a classic American play that's being performed this week in Marquette. The Marquette Senior High School Drama Club is putting on Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" Thursday through Saturday night at Kaufman Auditorium.
The Crucible was written in 1952, and it's also a parable about the Joe McCarthy "witch hunts" of the early 1950s, according to director Marty Martello.
"There are quite a few parallels between the two times, so you can see them in the show," said Martello. "There's a lot of vengeance, a lot of silly rumor, things like that, that all got spun together."
Martello leads the cast of 21 students. Many of them have studied "The Crucible" in English classes.
Noah Stephens-Brown plays John Proctor, a farmer who was executed for witchcraft. This is the first play the MSHS junior is a part of, but he has performed in several musicals before.
"I look for the shock in the audience, I suppose," said Stephens-Brown. "It's obviously not a comedy, The Crucible, it's a very serious play, so I can't look for laughs or anything like that."
Maitri White plays Tituba, a slave who is accused of witchcraft. The freshman has been acting since she was seven years old.
"It's a cautionary tale about what can happen when rumors just get out of control, and I feel in this current time area when paranoia is really felt by a lot of Americans, that being able to see past that and see the logic in it all is very important, and I feel like this show really addresses that," said White.
"It's all about vengeance and lies and suspense," Stephens-Brown added.
The shows start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Kaufman Auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance through all NMU EZ-Tickets outlets. Admission is $12 for the general public and $6 for students and seniors.