When he was a student at Harvard Law School, Ted Cruz, now the controversial Republican senator from Texas who was one of the main forces behind last month’s government shutdown, acted in a student production of Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible — but he was so hung over from the previous night’s partying that he couldn’t make it through the second performance of the play.
That’s Cruz in his Harvard Law days, in the photo at right.
The Crucible was first performed in 1953 and is a fictionalized account of the Salem Witch Trials. But Miller intended the play as a thinly-veiled indictment of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the leading figure in the persecution of suspected American Communists in the early 1950s.
As a senator, Cruz has been compared to McCarthy, not only by his political foes, but also by supporters who apparently consider the analogy a compliment. Writing for the right-wing web site World Net Daily, columnist Barry Farber compared the “volcanic excoriation” received by Cruz to that endured by McCarthy.
Cruz, however, told the Boston Globe in a interview for a lengthy profile that ran Sunday, that to him the play, which he praises as “tremendous,” represents, “a lesson against jumping to conclusions and being unfairly and harshly judgmental of others.”
After the opening night show, Cruz was not thinking about the meaning of the play, Instead, he was hitting a bottle of Everclear, as type of grain alcohol than can measure as high as 190-proof — a staggering 95 percent alcohol by volume.
Cruz was still feeling the after-effects the next night.
According to the Globe story, “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. He didn’t return for the remainder of the play.”
His fellow cast members were forced to improvise to make up for his departure.
“I was not feeling well, which was unfortunate,” Cruz recalled to the Globe. “The young are not renowned for their wisdom. And that’s certainly not a principle from which I was exempt.”
He said that he “doubts” he has consumed Everclear since that wild night in 1992.
SOURCES: Boston Globe, World Net Daily, Forbes, Wikipedia (2)