Senator Ted Cruz is known for his acts of political theater, but the drama we’ve come to expect from him on the Senate floor may trace its origins from his days at Harvard Law School. A new profile of Cruz by Matt Viser of the Boston Globe revealed that the senator played a leading role in the drama society’s production of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, back in 1992.
The play, which depicts the demagoguery of the Salem Witch Trials, was written as a critique of Senator Joe McCarthy’s red-baiting tactics of the 1950’s. The character Cruz played, the self-aggrandizing Reverend Samuel Parris, may be fitting for a senator criticized for his own demagoguery.
According to the Boston Globe, Cruz drank so much after one night’s performance he wasn’t able to complete his part the next day:
After the successful first performance, Cruz spent the cast party imbibing so much Everclear — a powerful grain alcohol — that he couldn’t make it through the next night’s performance. His fellow actors had to coax him into going onstage, but by Act III his condition worsened.
A video of the performance shows him sitting on a bench onstage, his head buried in his hands for nearly five minutes straight. After meekly delivering a line, he walked off stage in the middle of the scene, forcing cast members to improvise around the departure of a lead character. He didn’t return for the remainder of the play.
Watch Cruz show off his thespian flair: