"Homestead" - A New Play at the Witch House
Homestead is a new, site-specific play that allows the audience to observe a 17th century colonial family on the brink of panic and witness firsthand how quickly a community can devolve under the pressure of a witchcraft accusation. This work will debut at The Witch House at 310 Essex St, Salem MA, on September 20 - 21 & 27 - 28 at 7 pm. General admission is $13 and are available at https://homestead.bpt.me.
In the farming homestead of the Matthews family, something unnatural is afoot; twelve-year-old Ruth Matthews has been exhibiting alarming behavior, and as is customary, friends, family, and neighbors alike are invited to the home to pray for the child and decipher the cause of her symptoms. The audience, as the proverbial "fly on the wall," eavesdrops on the conflicts of men, women and children as they confront their own fears surrounding the supernatural. Unbeknownst to all but the audience, there is one guest who has not been invited, and may very well be the cause of Ruth's torment. A new interpretation of the New England witchcraft narrative, Homestead places East Anglian folk beliefs and practices under a microscope for the chance to examine the beginnings of colonial hysteria firsthand.
Homestead?s playwright, Macey Jennings, says that she was first drawn to create the piece based on her own experience as a Cry Innocent actor and tour guide in downtown Salem: ?When you zoom out of the Witch Trials and look at colonial New England as a whole, there are so many moving parts to consider when talking about the threat of witchcraft. I wanted to create a piece that could communicate those more obscure concepts through storytelling.?
The audience is free to investigate the authentic 17th century mansion--the only building in Salem with direct ties to the actual Witch Trials of 1692--to overhear what they will. Each person will end up with a different understanding of how poor Ruth is afflicted. What--or who--is to blame? Has the Devil been raised on New England's frontier?