Sword & Shield

A play to die for: The Crucible

Gabriella Deleon, Staff Writer

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The South Plantation Playhouse has been known for giving award-winning plays. This year, they most definitely kept their reputation. Students were incredibly excited when the drama program announced they would be performing The Crucible for their fall play. Many juniors are required to read The Crucible and therefore were interested in the drama program’s interpretation of the well-known play.

The Paladin Playhouse champions on the use of American Sign Language due to the fact that South Plantation is the only school in Broward County that has a Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. The drama program’s director, Jason Zembuch, made the very risky decision of swapping the character’s voices with sign language.

Normally, the characters in each production have two actors: a voice actor and its sign language interpreter. But this time, the tables were turned when the characters all signed, while only TWO actors provided voice.

The performance given by these two actors who gave voice to the play and covered the lines of 19 characters was astonishing.  Many people were nervous about this exchange, as it had to be pulled off perfectly. In the first act, it was slightly confusing to tell which character was speaking, but with the different voices–used by Adam Ortega and Sierra Nixon–it was quick to catch on.

“South has always had a deaf program… making our hearing shows accessible…would be an interesting twist,” said Zembuch.

The acting of all the characters was extraordinary, especially during the violent scenes in acts three and four, in which the characters accused met with Judge Hawthorne. The costumes, lighting, hair and makeup all seemed up to the Paladin Playhouse standard.

The set design was simplistic with the setting of a tree, a fencing and a church in the background. All the scenes took place here, with no set changes.

“It was very impressive, especially with the fact that only two people memorized all the verbal lines,” said Rachael Mackay, senior.

The most shocking part of The Crucible were the hangings in the first and final acts. The quick drop of both Adam Ortega and Edwins Garcon spread gasps throughout the theater. When asked if he was nervous about performing the scene, Ortega said “Yes, at first I was, but I trusted my build crew and Zembuch’s knowledge of the understanding of the rigging.”

“The hanging was an intense scene, the mechanics worked really well though,” said Nazareth Lockerd, junior.

Overall, the presentation of The Crucible was different in the best way possible. As many students are familiar with the play, the standards were set high and the Paladin Playhouse surpassed them. Congratulations to all the cast and crew for preparing and performing a wonderful show.

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A play to die for: The Crucible