Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Pride.

Upon setting fire to the stage, Michael Sturtz, Founder and Executive Director of The Crucible, welcomed the audience to its 7th anniversary fundraising event — Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s The Seven Deadly Sins — in a unique fusion of Opera and Fire Arts. Designed and produced by Sturtz, this unique production was directed by Roy Rallo and featured artists from San Francisco Opera and The Oakland East Bay Symphony, conducted by Sara Jobin.   It is The Crucible’s second Fire Opera.

The Crucible’s vast industrial arts studio was transformed into a dreamscape of fire and passion as the lights dimmed. The 30-piece symphony began, and three lawn chairs became the Louisiana home of Anna and her family.

 

The personality of Anna I is practical with a strong moral conscience, but Anna II is emotional and impulsive; she craves artistic beauty. As Anna journeys through seven cities, she encounters a deadly sin in each, and each personality must face the dilemma of choosing between money or dreams.

The first sin is Sloth. Anna leaves home and the stage comes alive with fire and light. Glowing hot cubes rain from above and sparks fly as hammers strike anvils. The sisters find themselves in a nightmarish scene, compelled to work while the family chorus (lounging in their chairs) exhorts them to keep their nose to the grindstone, singing, “Lazy bones are for the devil’s stock pot.”

 

 

Anna encounters Pride and learns about trading favors for money when she arrives in Memphis.

 

 

Encouraged by her success, Anna travels to Los Angeles, where she is introduced to Anger, “Mr. Big” (Ed Holmes), and the casting couch concept of success. Anna II is pulled away from her artwork, and trailing oxyacetylene hose across yards of stage, she torches Mr. Big’s office.

Anna becomes successful and moves on to Philadelphia, but her contract forbids her to eat what she wants when she wants to, and she is continually tempted by Gluttony. Anna perseveres; her house is getting built – grinders spew sparks, torches flare, hammers on metal keep the beat of Anna’s obsession.

 

In Boston Anna is kept by a wealthy man, but falls in love with another artist and discovers Lust. Anna I warns her sister about betraying her benefactor, but Anna’s love deafens her.

Wealthy Edward makes a contract with an assassin; Anna’s lover is dead, her family cheers the assassin, and she moves on to Baltimore. Anna’s family reads about her success in the newspapers; they display their Covetousness as Anna grieves over the shards of her lost love, piously demanding even more of her as they sing: “Shameless hoarders give themselves a bad name.”

In her final destination, San Francisco, Anna faces Envy. She envies all those who can engage in the sins she has been deprived of — those able to express anger, be proud, enjoy themselves freely, and love whom they love. But Anna II reminds Anna I that “we write our own story” and “only the fools of the world will let go” of their dreams. Anna is no fool; she continues to build her house, knowing in the end, “those who were good go to bliss unalloyed.” As Anna’s family moves into the house she built, the two Annas unite in sober solidarity.

With this second foray into blending fire and opera, The Crucible and producer/designer Michael Sturtz have firmly established a reputation for producing the most innovative and exciting performances in the Bay Area.

 

The Crucible would like to thank everyone who helped make possible our
7th Anniversary fundraiser, The Seven Deadly Sins.

The Performers
Anna I…………………………….Catherine Cook
Anna II……………………………Lee Kobus
Mother……………………………Kevin Courtmanche
Father……………………………Jere Torkelsen
Brother 1……………………….Eugene Brancoveanu
Brother 2……………………….Joe Meyers
Forge Tender/Assassin…….Michael Sturtz
The Groper…………………….Jonathan Hyman
Mailman…………………………Cooper Hazen
Mr. Big……………………………Ed Holmes
Mr. Big’s Chauffeur…………..Kitty Hundley
Fernando……………………….Thomas Sepe
Edward…………………………..Reggie Ballard
Edward’s Chauffeur………….Sean Orlando
Paper Boy………………………Austin Lewis

The Entire Faculty and Staff of The Crucible

 

Underwriters and Sponsors:
Pasha and Laney Thornton
Jeremy Crandell
Ann Hatch and Paul Discoe
The Russell-Shapiro Family
City of Oakland

For In-kind Support:
Clear Channel
Cresco Equipment Rentals
Mavry Welding Supply
Event Magic
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Four Vines
Michael David Winery

Producer/Designer: Michael Sturtz
Director: Roy Rallo

Music:
Oakland East Bay Symphony Players under the direction of Sara Jobin
“As Is” Brass Band

Wardrobe:
Erika Peterson, Wendy Lynn, MacKenzie Gabbard

House Design & Construction
Dann Davis

 

Light Sculptures by:
Sun Brothers
Jeremy Lutes
Michael Curry
Michael Sturtz
Norman Moore
Ed Kirshner
Michael Pargett
Kiki Pettit
Fire Sculptures by:
Orion Fredericks
Flaming Lotus Girls
Therm