By Sammie Stewart, Contributing Writer
On Oct. 5, the first showing of “As It Is in Heaven” premiered in Kelly Theater. The whole run of the show is being dedicated to Julie Alderfer, who was a part of the original play and recently lost her battle to cancer.
This show is about a village of Shakers who work for God. However, three “newcomers” show up and start turning things upside down with their visions of angels (Izzy), almost constant depression and regret (Jane) and a non-believer who slacks off when it comes to her chores (Polly). At one point in the play, it almost becomes too much for Sister Hannah (the eldress of the community). The problem is eventually solved towards the end of the play, but I’m not going to give out spoilers.
This play also has an all-women cast, which is something I’ve never personally seen from the Hilltop Players before. It is definitely something I would like to see again, except maybe in the future, it can be a play that’s more empowering towards young women.
Right off the bat, I will say that this production was a bit hard to follow at times. According to the playbill for “As It Is in Heaven,” even the actors were tripping up at times because the scenes had little to no context. However, the acting itself was amazing and makes up for the confusion. Each cast member did an amazing job of portraying the different sisters.
The cast member that stood out the most to me was sophomore Carly Balog. She had to portray the youngest character in the group, Izzy. Not only did Balog do an amazing job at becoming the innocent, playful 17 year old, but she also had a scene where she had to “cry,” and it made many people in the audience tear up.
Not only was the acting superb, but the costumes were amazing, too. It looked like they came straight out of that time period. Something that surprised me was that the cast all did their own makeup, rather than having a makeup artist doing it. They all did an amazing job at their makeup, too. Most of them are either in a stage makeup class currently or have some experience with stage makeup, but that element still surprised me. Part of the cast had to look older than they were, and they did a phenomenal job at achieving that.
The cast spoke loudly and clearly, so you could hear every word. Even if you sat in the very back of Kelly Theater, the actors could still be heard.
For this play, the theater did something I haven’t seen happen at West Liberty before. After the show, the audience could vote on who their favorite cast member was. Whoever gets the most votes will receive the fan favorite award. Out of five stars, I’d give this show three stars.
If you have time, go out and see this show. It is still showing today, Oct. 15 at 3:00 p.m.
Photo provided by Meta Lasch and Ingrid Young