"It certainly was an issue, absolutely," McEleney replies. "Whenever you do an historical play, you have to come at it with a little bit of humility in saying, 'They're not us. How do we enter into their minds?' "

Fortunately, he notes, Miller did a lot of preparatory work for them, basing his play on extensive research that included a sound grasp of the psychology of the time. "He was doing it about 1952, when all his friends were being dragged before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and he was finding a way to say that was then and this is now and yet they are exactly the same."

Public sentiment is volatile, changeable. The conventional wisdom today can seem foolishness tomorrow.

"The Democrats had this incredible mandate only two years ago, an overwhelming victory, and then it just turned," McEleney observes. "And that's what happened to the Puritans. It all happened within the space of two months, this madness. And then it was over."

And all the country could do was try, though perhaps fail, to learn something as a people.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Theater , Curt Columbus, Theater, Eugene Lee,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MEN AT WORK  |  April 16, 2014
    The Pulitzer Prize Board, which likes to honor theatrical gems of Americana, may have been remiss in not nominating David Rabe’s 1984 ' Hurlyburly .'
  •   SEARCHING FOR CLUES  |  April 09, 2014
    A "girl detective" makes her  world premiere.
  •   ROSE-COLORED MEMORIES  |  April 09, 2014
    Incessant media accounts of horrific events can prompt compassion fatigue.
  •   MENTAL SHRAPNEL  |  April 02, 2014
    Brave or foolhardy? The Wilbury Theatre Group is presenting Sarah Kane’s controversial Blasted , a 1995 play that at the time was decried as juvenile, taken to the woodshed by critics, and flayed to shreds.
  •   A ROWDY ROMP  |  March 26, 2014
    In his time, Georges Feydeau was to theater what McDonald’s is to cuisine — cheap, easy to consume, and wildly popular.

 See all articles by: BILL RODRIGUEZ