San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

A sneak peek into Skull & Dagger’s modern take on the classic ‘The Crucible’

Skull & Dagger celebrated their 100-year anniversary by performing a timeless play that transcends generations
Skull and Dagger
Photo Courtesy of the Skull and Dagger Dramatic Society

The Crucible is a classic tale that has stood the test of time. Based on the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, this story follows the trials of young women accused of witchcraft, where many sacrificed others in exchange for clearing their names.  

Written by Arthur Miller, many young people are familiar with this story because it is still a required curriculum in schools. This made it a popular choice for many students in the musical theater program. 

Skull & Dagger is the theater-focused club at San Diego State University that is putting this show together.  

Braxton Bell, the director and PR for the play, felt that this story needed to be retold because of its relevance to today. 

He shared how the story extends beyond the Salem witch trials, delving into the political atmosphere of its time, such as McCarthyism and communism in the 1950s, where numerous individuals were being tried with no evidence. 

“This show is really about why our words matter and I think that was one of Arthur Miller’s goals too,” Bell said. 

This show also commemorates 100 years of Skull and Dagger, so Bell thought doing a modern take on a classic would also celebrate the club’s longevity. 

Skull and Dagger is primarily run by students, with Bell being one of the most involved in the community. He chose the play, pitched it to the board (also all students), directed it and did PR while being surrounded by other student leaders who fulfill various roles.

Members of the Skull and Dagger Dramatic Society rehearse for their upcoming play “The Crucible” (Emma Kepfer)

Filled with a cast of powerhouses with many being involved with various parts of SDSU’s theater program. 

As the cast rehearsed one of the more intense scenes, it was easy to see their passion. Governor Danforth, played by Michael Soares, transformed the scene with his commandment on the stage. Another early standout performance was by cast member JJ Eccles, who not only was serious but also provided a great comedic relief. 

Many of the actors stood out even in the short rehearsed scene as they constantly brought energy. 

Aidan Baker as John Proctor, brought a raw, emotional side to this brave character. 

“It’s written under this kind of guise that it’s all ‘old-timey,’ but we see that it’s still real people and real people’s struggles, and I love that,” Baker said. 

There is a lot of male energy, but it would be a disservice to this show to not speak about the importance of the women in the story and on this set. 

Fourth-year Phoebe Apple acts as the show’s assistant director and choreographer. With her last year at SDSU, she has helped spice up this play and modernize it. 

Adding music through the show along with movement, added to a more lively stage presence. 

“This play is almost Shakespearean in a way and can be hard to digest, so I brought the idea of making an almost movie soundtrack for the show,” Apple said. “I wanted to incorporate a lot of eerie ominous music; also, sounds from artists like Hozier and Fionna Apple.”

With these modern takes on the play, it sounds as if it is shaping up to be a one-of-a-kind take on this classic story. With students having full control and leadership to put on this performance, it allows for all individuals to experiment and step outside the box of what is deemed “normal” in theater. 

The show will run April 11-14 with tickets available through their linktree on Instagram. 

For more information and updates on Skull & Dagger, follow their  Instagram,  where there are opportunities to not only attend productions but also get involved in the club. All majors are welcome and just about anyone who has a love for theater. 

Tickets can be found here.