Lights, Curtains and Action: Independence’s First Mainstage Play, “As It Is In Heaven” by Arlene Hutton, opened to the public on Nov. 15

Independence kicked off its theatre program with “As it is in Heaven,” Independence’s first play for public viewing, at 7 p.m on Friday, Nov. 15. The play had a total of six showtimes on Nov. 15, 16, 22 and 23. Mr. David Noland, director of the play, explained, “It is different really from anything this community has seen, and that’s a direction that I wanted to go.” With minimal references about the play’s script and storyline, it is open to interpretation. “It’s really mine and the kids’ own thing,” he said.

The play, “As It Is in Heaven,” is about a Shaker village in which the female residents began having visions, which triggered odd behavior among the locals, stirring other residents to raise eyebrows at them. The many claims of angel sightings only heighten the wild behavior of the women.

“I think their performance will be a testament to their perseverance,” said Noland. Behind the scenes of the play, the cast has been preparing since September, sometimes with two rehearsals on the weekends. 

The cast members filled out character development sheets to better understand their individual roles in the play. They fine-tuned their characters to bring this play to life and mirror Shaker women. Stage manager, sophomore Sonakshi Garimella, said, “This play brings back a time of simplicity, and I think people will find this play really interesting.” 

In addition to many members of the cast being new to theatre, having an all-female cast presented a challenge. “We were already in such a place where we had fewer options,” said sophomore Kelly Donlan, who played Peggy. They wanted a fresh, new perspective on performing arts. “We are setting a different foot forward compared to other schools.” 

The cast and crew members are happy with how the play turned out and were glad to share it with the public. “It’s been really fun to start the program,” said sophomore Josie Binkley. 

Until the next play, draw the curtains.

Emmy Ungerleider, as Polly, dances at rehearsal.
Amanda Wardlow, Jenna Moser, and Josie Binkley perform together during rehearsal.
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