Good things are happening in Folsom. That’s the takeaway from this handsome production by the Falcon’s Eye Theatre, launched six years ago by then-new Folsom Lake College.
Falcon’s Eye has grown and matured at a fairly astonishing rate. The Crucible is a major undertaking: This production features a cast of 20, in age-appropriate roles ranging from college teens to senior citizens, with colonial costumes (by Nancy Pipkin), dance choreography (by Claire Alano) and thoughtful sound design (by dramaturge Cathy Hardin) to boot. It’s a show Falcon’s Eye couldn’t have mounted a few years ago, when the company was staging plays in local churches, while the Harris Center for the Arts (formerly Three Stages) was under construction.
But now, Falcon’s Eye has a permanent home: The Harris Center is a gorgeous complex that rivals the Mondavi Center in Davis, and puts the aging arts infrastructure in downtown Sacramento and at Sacramento State University to shame.
This production has lots going for it. Arthur Miller’s 1953 script remains impressive and intense after 60 years. It’s all about tough moral choices that arise when hysteria spreads, church and state overstep their bounds, and innocent people are sentenced to death on groundless charges. Director Peter Mohrmann (co-founder of Capital Stage) builds a rising sense of tension, and there are fine performances by silver-haired veterans Maggie Adair Upton, Allen Schmeltz and Tom Rhatigan—also by Cathy Hardin (several Foothill Theatre productions), young Alexandra Barthel (Capital Stage’s The North Plan) and others.