The main reason we chose this day to visit Salem was that it was the last day this performance would take place until October and it only has 2 showings a day. It allows for audience participation and begins with the arrest in the square of Bridget Bishop for the crime of witchcraft. You then follow down to the old Salem Town Hall where the performance continues with the trial of Bridget Bishop. The audience is encouraged, at the appropriate time to question any of the participants, because the audience is the jury that will decide whether or not there is enough evidence to send Bridget to Trial.
We begin by the clock:
We are awaiting the town cryer with the news of the day….
Here he comes now!
We respect the wishes of the production company that we NOT record the portion of the performance that takes place inside the town hall, but, with permission of course, we were able to take some wonderful photos and even participate in the questioning!
Bridget Bishop is the first person to be put on trial for the crime of being a witch. Those convicted and executed for the crime of witchcraft were not burned as they were in England. Witchcraft was a crime against the church in England, therefor the punishment was burning, whereas in Salem in 1692 witchcraft was a crime against the government and punishable by hanging.
Bridget was twice a widow, married to Edward Bishop at the time of the 1692 witch hysteria. This was not the first time, Bridget was accused of witchcraft. She was first accused, but cleared, of witchcraft in the 1680’s.
The children responsible for many of the witchcraft accusations were not the only ones to cry out against Bridget Bishop. She wasn’t exactly a typical woman of the time. Most of her accusers, she had never bet before seeing them in court. Below you can see Sarah Osbourne, another accused who confessed to witchcraft, speaking out against Bridget Bishop
The script from the play comes directly from the court transcripts so you can really imagine being there back in 1692 and hearing these people giving their testimony. You may recognize one or 2 people wearing multiple costumes. Oftentimes actors play more than 1 character, but, as you see, they do change costumes to make it easier to differentiate between them.
The kids really responded to this performance and enjoyed it a lot. I’d highly recommend seeing it! Check out the website and ticket prices here: Cry Innocent
Check out the other spots we visited:
Here are some of our favorite books and movies about the Salem Witch Trials: