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The Crucible

Noemi Berkowitz (left), Margery Dunkle, Tom Crew and Scott Herr appear in a scene from Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," a collaboration between the Angels Theatre and Nebraska Girls Shakespeare companies. (Courtesy photo)

On more than one occasion, friends have asked Lincoln Southwest High School senior Noemi Berkowitz if she has changed her name.

Oh, the power of Facebook.

To help promote their show, members of the Nebraska Girls Shakespeare Company posted profiles of their characters from Arthur Miller's Tony Award-winning play, "The Crucible," on the social network.

You can follow the young women and their posts at www.facebook.com/groups/thesalemgirls.

Berkowitz portrays the play's antagonist, Abigail Williams, the teenager who brings down a community with her accusations of witchcraft.

"This was Becky's idea," Berkowitz said of director Becky Key Boesen, who encouraged the girls to Facebook their characters. "She thought it would be a great way to help us connect with them."

So far, it's working, creating a buzz among her friends, if not some confusion.

"People ask me, 'Did you change your name?' or 'What is this?'" Berkowitz said.

The Nebraska Girls Shakespeare Company is collaborating with the Angels Theatre Company and executive director Boesen on the Miller classic, which begins a three-performance run Friday at the Sheldon Museum of Art.

The production is a contemporary dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists. "The Crucible" won the Tony for best play in 1953.

Local actor Scott Herr plays the protagonist, John Procter, the focus of Abigail's attention and the reason for her destructive behavior.

"She is such a strong character," Berkowitz said of the villainess. "She doesn't have one level to her. There are more dimensions to her that I'm really able to explore and discover who she is."

The exploration has gone beyond Facebook pages. She and the other young women assumed their character identities and dressing up as them for Halloween. Berkowitz was Abigail Williams, who was a sphinx.

"One of the girls dressed up a witch, which we found ironic and fun," Berkowitz said. "We went and grabbed a bite to eat at Bison Witches, which also was fun because of the name."

​Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSjeffkorbelik.

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