Professor has Second Play Produced at the College of Charleston

Professor has Second Play Produced at the College of Charleston

It’s not often the College of Charleston Department of Theatre and Dance features a play written by a professor – Beth Lincks, penname Arlene Hutton, has opened two in the past three years. As it is in Heaven starts October 3, 2013 in the Emmett Robinson Theatre (54 St. Philip Street) at 7:30 p.m. and runs through October 8.

 [Related: As it is in Heaven ticket information]

Since Lincks wrote As it is in Heaven in 2001, the play has premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, been reviewed by the New York Times, enjoyed an Off-Broadway run, more than 100 productions in the U.S., and a 2011 revival.

It is the second Arlene Hutton play to be shown at the College since Lincks arrived in 2010. The first, Letters to Sala, was developed and published from the College’s Department of Theatre and Dance with input from students. The College is thrilled that Lincks has chosen to extend her professorship, affording the Department the rare opportunity to produce this critically acclaimed play with the original writer and director. Unknown-1

“Our department has a strong commitment to teaching playwriting, and it has for nearly 20 years,” Todd McNerney, chair of the Department, said. “Our students regularly win awards and presenting the works of our faculty writers, like seeing faculty perform and direct, helps reinforce the lessons we are giving in the classrooms. We are very selective about the works we perform, so this is a testament to Beth’s writing.”

As it is in Heaven centers on a small Shaker community in Kentucky, and a newcomer who sees visions of angels. “It’s about the establishment versus the new order, tradition versus trends. It’s about a group of women and community,” Lincks said.

Lincks originally wrote, cast and directed As it is in Heaven to [spelling] premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in Edinburgh Scotland, and then Off Broadway in New York City in 2001. The original production starred nine women and was tailored for small theaters with minimalist set design.

[Related: Read a New York Times review of As it is in Heaven]

“The original cast created the scenery with benches and laundry and baskets,” Lincks said. “The Robinson Theatre is a much bigger stage, so we had to fill it with a real set.” Lincks also wrote in parts for three additional actresses to round out the play on a larger stage.

Lincks worked with dance professor Gretchen McClaine and musical theater professor Laura Turner to enhance the dancing and singing in the production. “There were always traditional Shaker hymns that were meant to be sung, but now we’ve added traditional Shaker dance which Gretchen has interpreted for us,”

Lincks said. The production stars 12 undergraduate students of the College, ranging from freshman to seniors. Lincks worked with Technical Director Christian Crum as well as McClaine, Turner and several other Theatre faculty members to bring As it is in Heaven to life at the College. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and College faculty, staff and students.