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Marama Corlett in The Crucible
Marama Corlett in The Crucible

Fans of theatre are in for a real treat this weekend as Arthur Miller's The Crucible comes to the big screen in Mareel.

Recorded live at the Old Vic Theatre in London, starring Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and directed by Yaël Farber, The Crucible is Arthur Miller’s classic American tale based on Salem’s infamous witch trials, brought vividly to life in this visceral new production by internationally acclaimed director Yaël Farber. In a small tight-knit community in Salem, Massachusetts, personal grievances collide with lust and superstition, fuelling widespread hysteria. Miller’s timeless parable attacks the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations.

Students in S5 at the Anderson High School have been studying the play for their Higher English, and we gave them the opportunity to put some questions to actress Marama Corlett, who plays Betty Parris in the production. Students submitted the questions to Marama, who is currently filming a new project in Morocco, and kindly agreed to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer them.

You can read their questions and Marama's answers below:

Q) Do you feel the play has something to teach modern society?

A) The Crucible is essentially a play about what humans are truly capable of doing to each other, a reminder in a way. Although set in 1692 it draws parallels to today's world encompassing our relationships with one another in time of complete madness and turmoil. It's a timeless piece that resonates with any person reading or watching it. I believe it will continue to affect us for years to come.

Q) Is it emotional trying to act in such a horrific tale, especially since it is based on real events?

A) It's an absolutely heartbreaking story and extremely excruciating to watch. It was hard at times to fight the emotions. It grabs your heart from the very first scene. Choosing to live the story or better being chosen to recreate these characters, I personally found a certain unconditional love and appreciation for my character. As an audience you want to reach out to them and hug them, you want them to make better choices, you want them to live but as an actor you sort of accept their journey and respect it and then everything starts to happen and they live again. Like an ancestor or a lost loved one I think of Betty from time to time.

Q) How did you get into the mindset of playing Betty?

A) Our director Yaël Farber wanted to explore the physicality of the characters. Betty is believed to be possessed by the devil at the start of the play and we experimented with different types of body contortions, playing around with different, strange unnatural movements. As a company we became united, spending long hours in the rehearsal room finding our characters and the right pace for the play. Once you do your homework and rehearsals it becomes almost natural to get into the mind set of Betty.

Q) Do you think the character of Betty, and the rest of the girls, set out at the beginning to intentionally hurt as many people as they did?

A) These children lived under extreme fear, restricted and suppressed by their society and belief system. Truly I believe they longed for love and understanding. One event which most probably started out as a innocent longing for freedom was quickly misunderstood and shadowed by fear and ignorance. I believe nothing was done intentionally. It felt like we took one breath at the start and only exhaled at the very end. A situation that got out of control.

Q) What was it like being involved in such a major production?

A) We have been so happy and humbled by the reviews and the many people that made the performances or are now watching it at the cinema. Yael Farber's direction and Arthur Miller's genius writing have together created a very beautiful visceral piece. It's a very special play and each and every actor brought something unique and beautiful to their performances. It's been a wonderful journey and I am truly grateful to be one of the story tellers.

The Crucible is showing at Mareel on Sunday 1 March, 1.40pm. Tickets are selling out fast so be sure to get yours now. Available from Shetland Box Office online, at Mareel and Isleburgh, or over the phone on 01595 745555


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