BRECHT IN PRACTICE
Undermining the Status of the Court (Act III)

 

 

This clip shows how Parris’s self-importance in the context of the trial. In the first clip, we see how he attempts to raise his status by introducing Corey to the judges. This is a part of Miller’s script. In the second video, however, we added our own material to emphasize Parris’s officiousness and pretensions to high status by having him try to introduce Francis and be shouted down for it. This comic moment, engineered by the production itself, served to criticize Parris as one of the champions of the girls’ testimony.

Elsewhere, the declaration that the Court was in formal session offered an opportunity to point to the power relations that prevailed in Salem:

 

 

Here, the highest judge, Danforth, is presented with a large, comfy cushion, and he is delighted. Hathorne, the more junior judge, is offered a smaller cushion and registers his disappointment with it.

These details indicate the ways in which the production sought to criticize the frame of the third act, the Court, by pointing to the petty issues of power and superiority that reflect the power structures of the play’s society. By using humour, the production could invite the audience to find this most serious of institutions comic while acknowledging the awful power over life and death that it wielded.

 


BRECHT IN PRACTICE - Copyright 2017 © Prof. David Barnett | All Rights Reserved

David Barnett
Professor of Theatre
University of York

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