After the successful 2012 production of Arlene Hutton’s “Letters to Sala,” the Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to present her powerful and thought-provoking play, “As It Is in Heaven.” In 1838 an orderly Shaker village at Pleasant Hill, KY is changed forever when a non-believing newcomer sees angels. Illustrated with rousing Shaker hymns and dances throughout the show, “As It Is in Heaven” is a story of community ties and spiritual mysteries.
The play is directed by Beth Lincks, who wrote “As It Is in Heaven” under the pen name, Arlene Hutton. The production takes place at the Emmett Robinson Theatre in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St., and runs Thur., Oct. 3,-Tues., Oct. 8, 2013. Show times are 7:30 p.m. except for the Sunday show at 3 p.m. only. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for Senior Citizens and College of Charleston students, faculty and staff. Season subscriptions are available. Purchase tickets by calling (843) 953-6306.
“As It Is in Heaven” premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2001, directed by Lincks, and played off-Broadway at the 78th Street Theatre Lab and the ArcLight theatres and, recently, in a revival at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre. Hutton wrote the play after two years of research, including retreats at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, KY, now a museum.
The intriguing Shaker lifestyle and beliefs are explored in this story, in addition to human emotions that translate across all communities: jealousy, goodness, faith and reason.
Commonly known as “Shakers,” the religious sect is actually named the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. Their ecstatic form of worship consisted of song, dance, shaking and speaking in tongues. The Shakers’ doctrine of “hands to work, hearts to God” ensured they lived in immaculate, “heavenly” conditions, making and using everyday items of the finest quality and living in complete purity. The play’s title comes from the Shaker song “The Saviour’s Universal Prayer (Our Father Who Art in Heaven),” a Shaker rendition of “Lord’s Prayer.”