Milly Alcock is Abigail Williams in The Crucible

After gaining worldwide stardom by giving life to the young Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon, Milly Alcock faces a challenge that many young actresses have also faced, that of making her debut in theater and that of giving life to the difficult and controversial role of Abigail Williams in the play The Crucible. In the case of Milly, the risk is even greater because the one who preceded her was another “princess”, but this time from The Crown series, Erin Doherty, who we know and love as Princess Anne in seasons 3 and 4 of the Netflix series.

The replacement of the cast was announced in early 2023 and the premiere is approaching, now in June. The montage of the text that completed 70 years in February, written by Arthur Miller in 1953, uses as a basis a true legal process, of facts that happened in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1682 and where at least 19 people were hanged on false accusations of witchcraft.

As in real life, the play puts the young Abigail Williams (Milly Alcock) at the heart of fake news, who, when caught in the forest participating in a pagan ceremony, claims to be “possessed” and to have been a victim of witchcraft. She and the girls who accompanied her form a unit whose words gain omnipotent power, generating fear, revenge, and slander. No one is safe from judgment, not even Abigail’s former lover John Proctor (Brendan Cowell), or his wife (Caitlin FitzGerald).

Lyndsey Turner‘s modern montage has been highly praised and resumes performances for a short period starting June 7th. It uses a minimalist set, with an artificial rain wall that adds to a somber mood.

Originally proposed as a revision of the paranoia of McCarthyism in the United States, it becomes current in times of fake news and radicalism. Executions are based on preposterous accusations of frightened girls because the men in charge take advantage of them for other purposes. There is recent trouble accepting Abigail Williams’ telling of the story. The patriarchal discourse places inconsequential girls used to criticize powerful men, but John Proctor is idealized and Abigail is reduced to the role of jealous and simplified villain, a vision that we women no longer accept. Still, it’s a complex and interesting role, an opportunity young actresses have to bring duality and maturity. In cinema, Winona Ryder immortalized Abigail (she was nominated for an Oscar), and recently Saoirse Ronan shone on Broadway in a revival. Milly is the ideal age and talent for the role. It’s for the lucky ones in London!

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