Devil's Salt Review - The Logic Behind a Witch Hunt

In 17th century Plymouth, New England, one man’s internal struggle with sin leads to a one-woman witch hunt in Jovanka Bach’s, Devil’s Salt. While in the woods, Hooker Wainwright (Tom Groenwald) glimpses Hannah Mulwray (Katharina Magdalena) passionately making love to her husband, William Mulwray (Robert Brettenaugh), and is seized with shameful feelings of sexual desire. From this guilt Hooker convinces himself that Hannah is not the duteous midwife that everyone agrees her to be, but instead a spawn of Satan who is cleverly weaving her lies around a gullible town.

Kathrina Magdalena, Dana Kelly, Alex Wells, Tom Groenwald

This drama hovers with the message that unexamined sexual desires can create a religious stemmed inner shame that blurs the reality of objective truth, leading to a path of false salvation. Following her sexual nymph moment in the woods, Hannah delivers a stillborn from the Mears’ household, which turns out to be a deformed baby.

Robert Brettenaugh, Erin Hammond, Joseph Harris

The Mears’ are devastated and Hannah ensures them that she will give the child a rightful baptism as well as a burial. Hooker’s personal assumptions are reaffirmed when spying from his window, he witnesses Hannah hiding a bundle. He then investigates and upon unearthing confirms his own beliefs of Hannah’s “witchery.” A simple set design by Jared Sacrey lets the audience use their imagination for place as well as not distract from story. The ominous soundtrack between scenes sets the powerful tone of a condemned woman attempting to sustain her good reputation.

From Left to Right: Dana Kelly, Mona Lee Wylde, Tom Groenwald

While the structure is enjoyable, letting secrets unfold naturally and keeping the plot exciting, the message in this play is not unpacked stealthily. It at times borders but does not cross the line of overwrought. This being said, this is still an interesting examination and insight into the antagonist’s perspective. In contrast to The Crucible, it provides more depth into the logic behind a witch hunt.

Mona Lee Wylde, Kathrina Magdalena, and Gillian Brashear

Devil’s Salt is a play by Jovanka Bach, a guest production produced by John Stark, and will be performed at the Odyssey theatre from Dec. 1-18, 2016.

 

More informatioin about Odysseyt Theatre

Photos: Courtesy of Odyssey Theatre

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