Witches! the Musical

New musical based on the historical events of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials

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Witches Plot Devices and Tropes

A list of plot devices and literary tropes from Witches! the Musical submitted from an audience member at:


These plot breakdowns are relevant to the World Premiere preview run of 2012, but may have changed during the edit process after the premiere run. Thank you to the viewer that submitted these. A very keen ear and eye you have for plot devices!

Who’s the witch?
What should you say?
What should you do?
Satan he may come for you
In Salem Town 

Witches! The Musical is a play which chronicles the events of the Salem Witch Trials. Written by Conrad Askland in 2012, the musical is described as taking the historical events of the Trials and adding some characterization, with a little bit of fantasy thrown in. The primary protagonist is Abigail, a young girl who is alone and without friends. She lives with her uncle, the Reverend Parris, his daughter Betty, and his slave Tituba.

Witches! contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The part in the first act when Abigail goes to the invisible world and signs Satan’s book at first appears to be left hanging. It’s finally subverted at the very end.
  • Another Dimension: The invisible world is one of these.
  • Arc Words: “Everyone dies due to little girls’ lies?”
  • Bad Girl SongBridget Bishop
  • Based on a True Story: The Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
  • Big Bad: Possibly Rev. Parris, or the judges.
  • The Blank: Satan.
  • BSOD Song: Abigail gets one right before her Face Heel Turn
  • Burn the Witch!: Nicely averted as historically no accused witches were burnt at the stake, but rather they were hung.
  • But You Screw One Goat!: Reverend Parris blackmails one of the church members into agreeing with his plans for a big house by bringing up “the truth about that incident on your farm last summer.”
  • Chekhov’s Gun: A witch cannot recite the Lord’s Prayer without making a mistake.
  • Chosen One: Those who dabble in witchcraft will have a dream that calls them this, immediately before being given the offer to sign Satan’s book.
  • Curse Cut Short: Rev. Parris covers the mouth of a church woman who appears to be about to say a curse word.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Abigail. Perhaps in a literal sense as well.
  • Dark RepriseWho’s the Witch gets a short reprise on the accusation of Sarah Goode.
  • Deal with the Devil: Literally.
  • Death Song: John Proctor sings the Lord’s Prayer flawlessly just as he’s about to be hung. It doesn’t save him though.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Rev. Parris taught the girls’ Bible study to sing! He’s so forward thinking, and a champion of women’s rights, too! He thinks women should have the right to find a good husband they can care for.
  • Doomed by Canon: John Proctor flawlessly recites the Lord’s Prayer just as he’s about to be hung, thereby proving he is not a witch. But John Proctor died in the historical record, so he still doesn’t escape the noose.
  • Double Entendre: Wherever Bridget Bishop is involved, you can expect at least one of these.
  • Dream Sequence: Happens with both Betty Parris and Abigail.
  • Face Heel Turn: Abigail undergoes one after selling her soul to the devil.
  • Heel Face Turn: Eventually all the girls, but first Mary Warren. Excluding Abigail, who only pretends to undergo one.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: There are a few: Yoke/joke, sand-witch, witch/which.
  • Infant Immortality: Elizabeth Proctor would be hung as a witch, but since she is pregnant she cannot legally be executed, as killing the mother would kill the child.
  • “I Want” SongI Want a Big House
  • Karma Houdini: Abigail. All these people die, the Circle Girls break up, and Abigail is alone again. But she has incredible power from Satan, and the two walk arm in arm off stage. The end.
  • Let’s DuetGod will take care of us, by Sarah and Dorcas Goode.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Abigail, and also Ann Putnam— Junior!
  • Opening ChorusWe Once Lived
  • Parental Abandonment: Abigail’s parents were killed by Indians before the start of the story.
  • Put on a Bus: Betty Parris gets sent away to her cousin’s house before the trials begin.
  • The Reveal: At the very end, it is shown that without a doubt, Abigail really is a witch. She really did gain power from signing Satan’s book, and she uses it to kill Mary Warren.
  • Rich Bitch: Ann Putnam. Junior.
  • Running Gag: *dramatic music* …witchcraft.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: When the first witch is hung we see her standing on the box with the rope around her neck. Then the lights go out and when they come back on the shadow of a woman hanging is in her place.
  • The Power of Friendship: What initially holds the Circle Girls together.
  • Thanatos Gambit: As in the historical trials, Giles Corey, who refuses to speak and gets crushed to death by rocks.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: The judge and prosecutor, who provide much exposition on the trials.
  • Title Drop
  • Token Minority: Tituba and her daughter Violet, though actually justified as they were Rev. Parris’ slaves and the only “black” people associated with the trials.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Circle Girls probably fit this trope rather nicely, especially Abigail.
  • Villain Song: A couple.
  • Witch Hunt: Of course.

Original material from: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Theatre/WitchesTheMusical




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