Profound. Moving. Epic; three words that have often been used to describe Arthur Miller’s resonant and rightly acknowledged masterpiece of American Theatre, The Crucible. The task at hand is to bring these qualities to the screen and ensure the experience of the play and the qualities of this unique production translate into another medium.
This is where a dialogue with what is true comes into play and the need to be in an edit in the ‘living present,’ as if you were seated in the darkened theatre, transported by the skill of the writer and the interpretive choices of actors and creatives. This is the only place to work from, as if you are re-orchestrating the totality of the experience with the tools of film grammar.
It’s a sketch. A drawing in time, and with time. You find the outline and then you search for what is resonant, profound, elegant, always remembering to avoid making the viewer too self-conscious, so that they don’t become aware of the filmed theatre experience, but rather the writer’s dream, the director’s hidden skill, the actors embodiment of a character. The task is to take the viewer on the journey to the instinct and convictions and original vision of the writer. If our version stays true to the poetry and impact of the original and we have offered the opportunity to engage with another world, either critically or in an immersive way, then we have succeeded.
The material provided by Arthur Miller and translated into searing life by Yaël Farber and her deeply connected ensemble at The Old Vic offer a rich seam to mine and bring to the surface of the screen – heart-breaking images of loss and fury, grief and love, justice and injustice. Images that deserve as wide an audience as possible.
Robert Delamere, Creative Director of DigitalTheatre.com