Based on Arthur Miller's allegorical play set in Salem Massachusetts in 1692 this powerful adaptation portrays the disintegration of a society once superstition and the power of organised religion are exploited to settle scores for personal gain and even survival.
Peter Salem’s score ingeniously intertwines solemn, liturgical sounds with rich melodies and discordant electronic passages, bringing to life the community’s fear of the supernatural, creating an other-worldliness. The low strings and percussion build unease and tension, then seamlessly evolve into rich, melodic accompaniments to the Proctor’s pas de deux. The incorporation of sound effects throughout, from familiar church and courtroom sounds to whispers, screams and bird calls, mirrors the fear of the encroachment of the supernatural into the community of Salem and the distrust among its population.
It’s all brilliantly realised by the company, and supported by a shattering score by the aptly named Peter Salem. With great skill he matches sound to action: a great clatter of drums for Proctor’s unleashed passion; a whomp of violins for the wild and whirring Walpurgis night dances in the woods; screeches of strings as people meet their fate.
Photos: Jane Hobson