Despite the fact that locations of the historic witch trials are thriving tourist destinations, it's fairly well known that there was nothing supernatural going on (right?). The women and men caught up in the witch hunts were subject to a systematic oppression and demonization of women. Centuries-old medical practice was removed from the hands of midwives and communities devolved into religious terrorism as neighbors sold each other out to authorities. This month, Nazareth College's production of "Vinegar Tom" explores gender inequality of yesterday and today through the lens of witch trials. The musical play, written by Obie Award-winner Caryl Churchill, was penned in the late 1960s in response to the Women's Rights Movement. It brings audiences to 17th-century England, and explores what happens when mother-daughter protagonists Joan and Alice and other women buck the patriarchal society's set of norms.
"Vinegar Tom" will be presented in Studio Theater A48 at Nazareth College Arts Center, 4245 East Avenue, from Friday, February 15, through Sunday, February 24. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, February 15 and 22; and Saturdays, February 16 and 23. Afternoon performances take place at 2 p.m. on Sundays, February 17 and 24. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for senior citizens. The show contains mature themes, sexuality, and language. 389-2170; artscenter.naz.edu.