“The Crucible is a staple of the American theater,” said Ben McLaughlin. “Kate Bunce, an acquaintance of mine, told me she was costuming it at Hole in the Wall (HITW). It is a very well-known play. I felt that I should at least audition for it.”
He auditioned and was cast as “Reverend John Hale”. His experience, thus far, has been fun. “I’ve worked with Community Theater a couple of times. This particular theater really feels like a family. They have a pool of people who are very comfortable around each other. Everyone is willing to go that extra mile to make sure the production is successful.” It was during this rehearsal period that Ben stepped into the skin of the controversial Reverend.
Hale was called upon from a different town to confirm or disprove the existence of witch craft in Salem. In his travels, he accumulated knowledge of the spiritual world and witch craft. “He (thinks) he can see the signs,” said Ben. “As he experiences the Salem Witch Craft Trials first-hand, he starts to question his faith, the laws he lives by and the society he lives under. He is a person who goes by evidence, but inadvertently causes the death of dozens of people.”
The first time Ben read the script, he found the dialogue ridiculous. “The script could read so easily as a comedy. It is up to the actor to get into the head of the character.” This is a skill that Ben has honed ever since his first high school role as “Oberon” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
During his pre and early college years, he was cast in many comedic roles. During his time as a theater major at Central CT State University, he transitioned into more dramatic roles and diversified his acting range.
While he doesn’t have a preference for classic or contemporary works, Ben carries a fondness for Shakespeare. “He is my go-to,” said the New Britain resident.
And why does he love him so much? “It’s the language. It’s what he says, why he says it and why he has to say it like that. He can spend an entire soliloquy talking about what a d—k that guy is. Not only can Shakespeare say that in ten lines, but he makes you want to say it in ten lines.”
Come see Ben when The Crucible opens on Friday, May 15th. Performances run Fridays and Saturdays from May 15- June 6, 2015 with one Sunday matinee on May 24th at HITW on 116 Main Street in New Britain, CT. Tickets are $20.00 (general admission) and $15.00 (students and seniors). They can be purchased at the door and online at www.hitw.org. The May 22nd show will be our Pay-What-You-Can performance. The Crucible is being presented in honor of Arthur Miller’s 100th Birthday.