The witch is back. When The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s parable about bigotry and persecution, was first performed in January 1953, critics denounced the play as a thinly disguised political tract. Now, those very same discourses can be examined, alongside the full text of the play itself, in The Crucible CD-ROM, due in November from Penguin USA. Also on the disc: historical background on the Salem witch trials (the play’s setting) and the McCarthy witch-hunts, and interviews with Dustin Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss, and John Malkovich, all of whom have been in Miller productions. There is also an interview with the playwright, who offers his interpretation of the work and tells why he wrote it. ”What got to me was the wonder of it all,” he says, ”that mankind could be swept up like this. Dwight Eisenhower was presented with the opportunity of condemning McCarthy. He said he didn’t want to get mixed up in that.” * You know the times they are a- changin’ when you hear that Bob Dylan’s life and music will be chronicled on CD-ROM. Columbia Records will provide developer Graphix Zone with access to the singer’s music, videos, and, most important, lyrics. The disc is due out late this year.
* At last, an off-ramp on the information superhighway for the Magic Kingdom. Disney, which has long been skeptical of the interactive revolution, has agreed to hook up with three regional phone companies (BellSouth, Ameritech, Southwestern Bell) to deliver movies-on-demand, video games, and home-shopping services over phone lines. No start-up date has been set.
* The play’s the thing that’s at the center of Macbeth: The Game, a CD-ROM role-playing adventure due next January from Simon & Schuster Interactive. No tag line yet, but here’s a possibility: ”Life’s but a poor player but you don’t have to be!”