Theater Production Rehearsal for "As It Is In Heaven"

From left to right: Abigail Mangum, Mia Knapp, Jackie Bither, Sarah Robinson and Hannah Hockman during a rehearsal on Oct. 3, 2019.

“As It Is In Heaven” is an Eckerd production that will open Oct. 30 and run Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and 2 in Bininger Theater. The first three showings are at 8 p.m. and the last is at 2 p.m. 

It is a CPS event and free to Eckerd students.

Directed by Professor of Theatre Gavin Hawk, “As It Is In Heaven” tells the story of a quiet community of Shakers (a Christian group that got their name from worshiping through dance) living in Kentucky in the 1930s. However, everything changes for them when a newcomer says she’s seeing vision of angels.

Although “As It Is In Heaven” is not a musical, it employs Shaker hymns and dances between scenes.

“We are hoping to do [musicals] more in the future, perhaps in collaboration with the music discipline. But we thought [“As It Is In Heaven”] was a nice sort of transition into that because it’s not a musical, per se it’s really is a play with music and dance,” Hawk said.

Based on the large turnout at auditions for “As It Is In Heaven,” students are excited for this musical too, according to one of the cast members, Mia Knapp.

“I wanted to try out for the play because it seemed [to be] something different than the plays from last year. There’s singing in this production, which always makes me happy, and it’s an all-female cast,” Knapp, a sophomore majoring in theatre, said.

The songs are performed Acapella, which junior Hannah Hockman said can be daunting to do as a live performance art.

“Singing Acapella is terrifying but singing by myself is even more terrifying. I’ve never sang this high or had this much music to learn for a show before. It’s pretty intimidating. I’m so thankful for the other girls and their encouragement,” Hockman said.

Theater Production Rehearsal for "As It Is In Heaven"

From left to right: Abigail Mangum, Mia Knapp, Jackie Bither, Sarah Robinson and Hannah Hockman on Oct. 3 2019. The girls are part of an all-female cast for the production "As It Is In Heaven."

After weeks of rehearsal, the cast has formed a sense of community.

“We are definitely already family,” Sophie Sawyer, a first-year majoring in interdisciplinary arts, said.

This sense of family may, in part, be due to the empowerment of having an all female cast. Historically, Shaker members were all celibate and the men and women lived separately. 

“I absolutely adore that the entire cast is female. There is a wonderful, strong, driven and capable energy among the cast which is exemplified when we work together,” Katie Judge, a sophomore theatre major, said.

For students interested in working with future productions, there are many ways to get involved. The theatre department offers a course called Theatre Production where students work on backstage aspects of the production for course credit, and anyone is free to audition despite their level of experience in theatre.

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