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AS IT IS IN HEAVEN NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW
Opening Night: May 20, 2011
Did He Like It?*
The arrival of Fanny upsets the community's harmony and routine, and her visions reignite their once dramatic form of worship. But the devout Eldress Hannah, who has lived her entire life preparing to walk with angels, finds her leadership threatened and needs proof, no matter the cost to her own soul. Hymns sung a cappella punctuate the scenes of the play, which ends with a joyful explosion of Shaker singing and ecstatic dance.
A Striking, Gentle Portrait of a Shaker Community
*By ANITA GATES
Published: May 29, 2011
"It must be nice when “I passed the meeting house without saying a prayer” is the worst sin you can recall committing. That is one of the sweetly comic public confessions of the mid-19th-century Shaker women in the 3 Graces Theater Company’s revival of “As It Is in Heaven.” This modest, strangely moving one-act by Arlene Hutton (“The Nibroc Trilogy”), which originally opened in New York two days after the terrorist attacks in 2001, is a gentle portrait of a culture very different from ours. But the tale of women living together in a Shaker community (Shakers practice celibacy, so the sexes lived separately) is also an unexpected patchwork of high and low cultural influences. "
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