7:00 am - Cast Breakfast and Getting on the Bus
We started our day by eating breakfast as a group before we headed to Salem, MA. Everyone was very excited to learn new things about the town and the origins of this play. We hoped to get a better perspective on how people lived in the 1600’s. It was a beautiful day, 50 degrees and not one cloud in the sky, a perfect day for traveling. We left Berkshire at 7:30 to enjoy a three hour bus ride with the cast. A couple days before, everyone was assigned to research about the play to find:
-Three interesting facts about our character
-Three facts about Salem itself and the time period
-Five questions you may have through your research
-One theory of what could explain the witch trials in Salem
I learned through my research that my character, Ruth Putnam, was actually named Ann Putnam Jr. after her mother. Arthur Miller changed her name in the play to avoid confusion with her mother. We shared our research with each other on the bus ride. I think we all had a better idea of our characters after knowing how they interacted and lived in real life.
10:00 am- Arriving in Salem
The cast arrived to Salem and headed straight to the Salem Witch Museum. When we got there, we experienced a mannequin narrative of the witch trials where our characters were identified in context . I learned that Ann Putnam lived very traditionally-no holidays, no playing, basically no fun. Tituba, a slave from Barbados, told Ann and a few other girls, like Betty Parris, made-up tales. This started to make the girls act strangely, which made people believe their behavior delivered from satanic spirits. Eventually these girls were questioned and the trials began. Giles Corey, John Proctor, and Elizabeth Proctor were among the 19 that were accused and killed during the trials, most of them hanged. It was interesting to see our characters in The Crucible come to life. We then were guided through a timeline on different types of faiths involving witchcraft like Wicca and Pagan women.
12:00 pm- Lunch and the Witch Dungeon
We had a quick lunch and then went on our way to the “Witch Dungeon.” We saw a reenactment of Mary Warren and Elizabeth Proctor in the court. Many other characters were mentioned as a part of the play. After that, we headed down to a replica of one of the dungeons. We were told that the actual dungeon was destroyed in the 1950’s when the building it was located in was rebuilt. The dungeon was poorly lit and very cold, similar to how it would have been in the 1600’s.
2:00 pm- The Graveyard and Memorial
We entered the graveyard and got to see the tomb of John Hawthorne. There were many other people buried in this family, grouped with their family members and loved ones. Some were captains on The Mayflower. All of the stones ranged from the early 1600’s to early 1900’s. In a separate section of the graveyard, there was a memorial for all the people who were accused of witchcraft, which included Rebecca Nurse, John Proctor, Giles Corey, and Martha Corey.
3:30 pm- Looking at the Documents
We then drove to a research library where we were able to look and touch the real documents our characters were involved in from the 1600’s. It was a surreal experience to be able to hold something so old that was so important to these people. The writing was different than how we write today as it was much neater and they used different symbols to express certain things. Some of the documents included Samuel Parris’ deposition, Mary Warren’s deposition, and documents written by John Hawthorne.
In all, It was a fun and educational day to be able to get a better idea of what life was like for our characters and everyone enjoyed the company of each other and the experience we had while in Salem.