THE CAST of Heartwood Theater’s production of “As It Is In Heaven,” which opens Jan. 20 in Damariscotta, includes, from left, front row: Mary Boothby, Nancy-Grace Dersham and Abbey Hutchins; and, back row: Ellen Erickson Whalley, Millie Santiago, Marjolaine Whittlesey, Elise Voigt, Katie Matzell and Nancy Durgin.

THE CAST of Heartwood Theater’s production of “As It Is In Heaven,” which opens Jan. 20 in Damariscotta, includes, from left, front row: Mary Boothby, Nancy-Grace Dersham and Abbey Hutchins; and, back row: Ellen Erickson Whalley, Millie Santiago, Marjolaine Whittlesey, Elise Voigt, Katie Matzell and Nancy Durgin.

DAMARISCOTTA

H eartwood

Theater will present “As It Is In Heaven,” a play by Arlene Sutton, beginning Jan. 20 at Skidompha Library on Main Street.

A Heartwood release describes the production as follows:

Set in a Kentucky Shaker Community in the 1830s, this script sweetly unfolds under the direction of Griff Braley and a powerhouse cast of nine veteran actresses.

Best known for “Last Train to Nibroc,” presented by Heartwood in a staged reading last winter, Hutton once again leans back in time, to a place where things appeared much simpler; in this seemingly utopian world of good people, Hutton deftly reveals their individual and collective humanity.

The cast is well known to Heartwood audience, as all nine women have held at least one major role with this company: Nancy Durgin, Millie Santiago, Ellen Erickson Whalley, Katie Matzell, Abby Hutchins, Marjolaine Whittlesey, Elise Voigt, Nancy-Grace Dersham and Mary Boothby.

This tightly woven ensemble has been at work since early December, learning not only lines but lyrics, music and dance steps to Shaker tunes, sung a cappella, punctuating the scenes.

The set is purposefully simple, as expected in a story about Shakers, and provides a “theater in the round” experience for audiences.

Currently on display in Skidompha Library is the stunning “Tree of Life” backdrop created and painted by Mary Boothby, for sale by silent auction. Costumes are authentic, chosen and handmade for each actress.

The plain clarity of technical elements allow time and space in which to reflect, as Hutton leads the audience through universal and timeless questions of “community,” never losing the obvious humor found in the moments.

The well established and orderly community of Shakers is running just so … until the arrival of young Fanny, who claims to see angels in the meadow. Soon, all the young women are receiving “spiritual gifts,” and the entire utopian balance is disrupted.

What follows is a powerful and insightful look at the natural array of reactions of a community threatened by change: doubt, jealousy, denial and acceptance.

“As It Is In Heaven,” produced with special permission by Dramatists Play Service Inc., will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 21, 27, 28, Feb. 3 and 4, and at 3 p.m. on Jan. 22 and 29.

Seating is extremely limited and reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets cost $12 for students or $18 for adults. Call 563-1373 or go online to [email protected]


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