Dordt College News

Dordt Theater performance held for regionals

March 13, 2007

As It Is In Heaven

The Dordt College Theater Department has been notified their performance of “As It Is In Heaven” is being considered for inclusion in the regional ACTF (American College Theater Festival) to be held next January.

“As It Is In Heaven” was directed by Jerelyn Schelhaas, instructor of Theatre Arts and English at Dordt College. Schelhaas also directed the award-winning 2004-05 production “All My Sons” which was selected for regional American College Theater competition and then held for national consideration.

“As It Is In Heaven” was presented locally Feb. 22- March 3. Adjudicators attending the performance notified Dordt’s Theatre Department to “hold” the play set, costumes, etc., through the end of 2007, as they continue adjudicating Region 5 performances in colleges throughout Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota. They will then select the best to perform at the American College Theater Regional Festival in Omaha next January. Regional judges will select a few performances from all regions to advance to the national festival.

Nine Shaker “sisters” made up the cast of “As It Is In Heaven.” They were Anna Venhuizen (Burnett, WI), Becky Lancaster (Cedar Rapids, IA), Jenna Veenbaas (Abbotsford, BC), Melissa Schans (Denver, CO), Sarah Hoogendoorn (Sioux Falls, SD), Justine Moelker (Chatham, ON), Emily Stam (Oskaloosa, IA), Danielle Roose (Sioux Center, IA) and Ashley Laverman (Kellogg, IA).

The play is based on an 1837 Shaker community in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, where the philosophy “Hands to work, Hearts to God,” inspired 18th and 19th century Shakers to work hard, live simply, and strive for perfection here on earth. The term “Shaker” was applied to the group because of their religious fervor and movement in worship as they felt the spirit led. As the play unfolds, traditional ways are challenged when newcomers claim visions of angels and spiritual gifts.

“The production doesn’t answer the question of whether or not these were real visions, but does open up the question of whether the visions of the young can find room in the habits and traditions of the old,” commented Schelhaas.

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