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A new theater group in Ferney-Voltaire called The Hoops of Iron Players are producing an outdoor show this week. We caught up with Sofie Qwarnstrom to tell us about The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?
Three reasons why The Crucible spoke to me: Firstly, I have made mistakes in my life that caused me to heavily identify with the way that Proctor’s sense of guilt causes him to project his own self condemnation onto his loved ones, and seeing the world around him as punitive because he is punitive towards himself. This creates a wall of distrust between himself and the others and leaves him totally isolated. The way that he gradually learns to act with integrity gives him the confidence to stand straight again and to be the person he wishes he was. The sins of his past served the essential role in shaping who he is then able to become by humiliating him and thereby giving him the necessary humility to take himself apart and to put himself together again.

Secondly, I am worried about the spreading political polarisation in our society and thought it timely to stage a reminder of how easily a community can begin to turn in on itself when all sides of an ideological argument are not respected and given the benefit of the doubt. This applies to the left as well as to the right.

And Last, I also liked the idea of doing an aesthetically minimalist play where all that is needed is a couple of old tables and chairs and a rustic setting. I am blessed to have access to an old, open barn, parts of which date from the time of Voltaire. The history seeped into the walls gives a certain patina of the past to our production.

Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
This idea came to me in May, when I was isolated at home, going through a difficult breakup and needing an escape from non-stop online reading and writing for my thesis on psychoanalytical psychology and Shakespeare. The choice of the Crucible was providential: It is the favourite play of one of the actresses, who chased down all the actors she knew to get them to act in this play. This was extremely helpful. Another point on which the stars aligned is that in France, The Crucible happens to be a set text for high school students this year.

I would like to add that the amount of brilliantly talented people who have offered to help set up this play for free (the actors, the help with organisation, the costumes, the live music, the set-building, the lights, the makeup) has melted my heart and I will forever be grateful.

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What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
To say that organisation is not my strong point is an understatement, but I have been blessed with a lot of help with this. Another challenge has been the size of the cast, finding rehearsal times where everyone was available, and working around unavailabilities.

Where do you see your company going?
I would love to tackle a Shakespearean comedy next (Twelth Night, in all probability). I love Shakespeare and I imagine the difficulty level will be a step up from The Crucible because of the language and the complicated character of his comedic plots. I think comedy is also harder to engineer than pathos.

What is your favorite character in the play and why?
My favourite Crucible character is Giles Corey. He is endearing in his raillery and stubbornness, and the character trait that makes him so unnecessarily mulish and contrarian at times is the same trait that gives him the strength to defy his interrogators to the end. It's interesting that some personalities seem to be made for certain high-stakes circumstances, but in other everyday contexts, feel entirely out of place.

Anything else you think our readers would like to know.

  • Pass sanitaire is necessary for the show. If you are not vaccinated, you can get one by getting an inexpensive Covid test at a pharmacy.
  • Bring a coat in case it gets chilly in the barn in the evening.

button competition150The Hoop of Iron Players are kindly offering a pair of tickets to one lucky knowitall.ch reader (value €24.-). Just fill out this form and answer this question: Is the play being held indoors or outdoors?

Only one entry per email is allowed. The competition closes at midnight on Tuesday, 7 September 2021. The names of all those submitting correct answers will be placed into the digital hat and the winner's name drawn at random on Friday, 8 September 2021. The winner will be notified by email and their initials will be added to this article after the competition closes.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The Hoops of Iron Players
Directed by Sofie Qwarnstrom
Ferney-Voltaire, France
9-12 September 2021
An outdoor production.
Tickets are €12 and you can reserve and get more details by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO MC FOR WINNING THE PAIR OF TICKETS.

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