Posted on Tue 22 March 2016

I Saw Goody Proctor with The Devil

Last Saturday we went out as a family to see Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible at the Lyceum theatre. It's a powerful portrayal of the Salem witch trials written as an allegory for the McCarthy-era anti-communist activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s. It’s a production that is probably still as relevant as when it was first written. I came out seething at the injustice.

My darling children came out saying it was ”alright“ (yes, with the rabbit ear quote marks audible) but I think they enjoyed it.

I remember going to see the play performed by a youth theatre group in Burntisland when I was a teenager. Somehow the scene where the girls of Salem see the devil in the rafters of the 17th century Massachusetts courthouse worked better in a shabby old hall than the grand and gilded Victorian theatre.

Today, in light of the horrific terrorist attacks in Brussels, I was thinking that, once again, we are perhaps in fear of an unseen force undermining our way of life. The danger is that we act on that perceived risk and persecute the innocent. In using phrases such as declaring a “war on terror” we grant an organisation such as ISIS one of it’s objectives in legitimising their fight for military authority over all Muslims as a ‘war’.

It pains me to quote Tony Blair, but...

“They are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cow us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our business as normal, as we are entitled to do. They should not and must not succeed.”

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