Senior Monique Lonergan (far left) in "The Crucible." (Photo used by permission of Lonergan)
Senior Monique Lonergan (far left) in "The Crucible." (Photo used by permission of Lonergan)

Q&A: Senior gets lead role in bewitching ‘Crucible’

Senior Monique Lonergan has been performing for eight years and has appeared in productions such as “The Tempest,” “Anything Goes,” “The Fantasticks” and “The Donner Party.” She is playing the role of Mary Warren in the Sacramento Theatre Company’s  production of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller. The play opened on Sept. 26, and can still be seen on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m. at the Sacramento Theatre Company  (1419 H St.).

Q: Can you tell me about the play?

A: “The Crucible” is based off of the Salem witch trials. It all begins when me and a few of my friends break some of the village rules by going out into the forest to dance.

We get in trouble for (breaking the rules), so we start pretending that we were dancing in the forest because someone possessed us – meaning that (that person is) a witch.

It all kind of explodes from there, and we start accusing everybody of being a witch. Eventually my character tries to tell the truth and a lot of stuff happens.

Q: Is there anything different about this production?

A: No, we’re keeping it very traditional. The only contemporary thing about (the play) is the set – I guess you could say it’s a little more edgy than you’d normally see for a set of “The Crucible.”

There are two big platforms. It’s all elevated and everything’s kind of close together – it feels very compressed. The director said she wanted the set to look close together and squashed to give the feeling of being trapped.

Q: What is your role?

A: Mary Warren is one of the girls that is accusing everybody of witchcraft.  However, the thing that’s different about her is partially why we begin to accuse people of being witches.

We start accusing people of being witches because the main girl, Abigail, is in love with her former employer, John Proctor – and now I work for John Proctor.

I’m like, “Listen, they’re going to accuse your wife!” to John. But I’m told that I have to tell the truth and that I’m lying.

I do try to help (the accused), but it doesn’t really work out well in the end.

Q: How’d you get your role?

A: There was a big general call for girls for the show in the beginning of summer. When I went there, there were about 30 or 40 girls there trying to get into the show – and there were only eight slots open. I got called back for it, and then I ended up getting  the role.

Q: What was the rehearsal schedule like?

A: The rehearsal process for this was really interesting because a week before rehearsals officially started, the other seven girls and I got to have a week of rehearsal with just us. I think this was really critical in building relationships with each other – we have to be really tight and close in this show.

We did a lot of character work and exercises that (we) normally don’t get to do in the rehearsal process because we don’t have enough time. This was really fun, we got to make playlists for our characters, bring in objects for our characters and a bunch of other stuff.

When rehearsals officially started with the other professional actors, we got right into blocking and memorizing lines.

Overall, it just went by really fast.

Q: What’s the cast like?

A: it’s interesting because we have a lot of young girls like me – there are some freshmen and sophomores playing the other girls – and then we have some very elderly actors.

The dynamic is really interesting because we’re all working together and there’s such a wide age range. It’s been really interesting to watch everyone’s process throughout the play.

Q: Do you have a favorite part in the play?

A: The director implemented a prologue because in the show, there’s a lot of talk about us dancing, but there’s never a scripted moment of the girls going and dancing. So the director added the prologue to fix this.

I really like it because it’s super interactive – we come running through the audience, so it’s like we’re including (the audience)  in our secret.

Q: Has it been hard managing the play and school life?

A: This show probably has the most student matinees that I’ve ever done, which is a little challenging.

It’s a little bit difficult to balance everything. I’ve done it before, but this year it’s especially challenging with student council responsibilities, college applications and just regular classes.

—By David Situ

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