Spring Quarter Mainstage: As It Is in Heaven
About the Play
A religious community is changed when a nonbeliever has an ecstatic experience. The 1830’s Shaker society of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, is set in ordered ways. Their once dramatic form of worship has by now developed into routine. The arrival of Fanny upsets the harmony; the Sisters suspect her to be a “winter Shaker,” one who suddenly converts when life gets too hard on the farm. Fanny sees angels in the meadow, and soon all the young women are receiving spiritual “gifts” of songs, drawings, ideas and giggles, completely upsetting the community.
The leaders question Fanny’s intentions and honesty: Is this a resurgence of the original Shaker celebration or something manufactured by Fanny so that she can remain with the Shakers? Eldress Hannah is jealous that she, the most devout of Shakers, has not been privileged to see the visions.
But only the ones who question need visual proof. Whether they were heavenly or earthly, the angels were there. “Hands to Work, Hearts to God” is their motto, and in each scene the Sisters are always at tasks. The set is as simple as the Shakers: benches, baskets and laundry. Hymns sung a cappella punctuate the scenes of the play, which ends with a joyful explosion of Shaker singing and ecstatic dance.
— From the publisher
About This Production
April 23–25 and April 30–May 2, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
May 2, 2 p.m. Matinee
E.E. Bach Theatre in McKinley Hall, SPU campus
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