Dust of Providence

 

This two-act drama opens fourteen years after the Salem Witch Trials, as Ann Putnam negotiates her sister Betty’s desires to marry well with her own reticence to join the village church – which would require her to publicly acknowledge her role (at age 12) in accusing others during the trials.  Aligned with Betty is younger sibling Ebenezer, while brother Thomas and friend Elizabeth Hubbard are opposed to rehashing past events.  Against this backdrop of conflicting desires, Ann must serve as head of household, in the wake of her parents’ deaths in 1699, while also seeking her future path in consultation with Reverend Green, Salem Village’s newest minister.

 

As Act I transitions into Act II, Ann is haunted by nightmares of Gallows Hill, where the convicted witches were executed, and she frightfully encounters the image of young Liza, the pregnant teenage wife whom her brother Thomas scandalously married while away on an apprenticeship.  During Act II, Ann seeks to learn from Reverend Green about the duties in making a covenant, about ways to combat her feeling of being an outsider from the Reverend’s wife Mrs. Green, and about how to achieve reconciliation with the descendants of Rebecca Nurse, whom Ann had accused.  Despite a lack of success in persuading Elizabeth (a fellow Witch Trials accuser) to join her in the search for forgiveness, Ann seeks peace in offering her public testimony, while also aiding Liza in the birth of her child.  Liza and Ann offer an epilogue in which Liza describes the secret reparations that she and Betty had been paying to the Nurse descendants, Sarah and Mary, unbeknownst to Ann – and reveals her appreciation of Ann’s good example by naming her later daughter Anna, following Ann’s death ten years later.

 

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Play Structure:

2 Acts:  Act I, 7 scenes; Act II, 9 scenes

Cast size:

10

 

Gender:

7 female, 3 male

Period:

Summer, 1706.

Location:

Salem Village, Massachusetts.

 

Set:

A sparse stage, representing the main room of the Putnam house, plus the parsonage and the Bowden house.

 

Costumes:

Varied Puritan garb, in multiple colors in addition to black.

 

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Production History

 

Dust of Providence received its premiere production by The Experimental Theatre Project (White Cat Productions) at the Richard Hugo House Theatre in Seattle, Washington, on February 23 – March 10, 2007.  The play was directed by Steve Cooper, and was performed by the following cast and crew:

 

 

Ann Putnam

Elisabeth Eden

Thomas Putnam

Benjamin Elterman

Betty Putnam

Xanadu Bruggers

Liza Whipple Putnam

Samantha Chapman

Ebenezer Putnam

Eduard Zanidache

Elizabeth Putnam

Trish Loyd

Reverend Green

Lee Morris

Mrs. Green

Yvette Zaepfel

sarah Nurse Bowden

Kris Keppeler

Mary Nurse Bowden

Adrienne Easton

 

Costume Designer

Chryste Call

Set Designer

Katie Lawrence

Props Designer

Michael Mowery

Lighting Designer

Dave Baldwin

Sound Designer

Michael Hayes White

Light Operator

Tim Crist

Sound Operator

Michael Mowery

Stage Manager

Tim Crist

Poster Design/

  Photography

Ken Holmes

House Manager

Amy Hartwell