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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Video Clips

Staging Historical Drama: As It Is in Heaven



This segment takes viewers behind the scenes to see the University of Kentucky Theatre Department prepare for a production of As It Is in Heaven, a play by Arlene Hutton about Shaker women at Kentucky’s Pleasant Hill community in the 1830s. Actors practice songs and scenes from the play, and director Rhoda Gail Pollock and others discuss the challenges of portraying history onstage, how they work with others in the production, and how theater connects an audience with the past.

Suggested Uses:

  • Show to introduce a discussion of historical drama. For example, why is the use of singing and dancing appropriate for this particular play?
  • Have students choose a historical event and plan appropriate components and necessary research in order to write or direct a play about it.
  • Have students list the various theater jobs mentioned in the segment and the activities of each position.
  • Have students research and write dramatic scenes based on historical characters or events. They should direct and perform one another’s scenes and discuss the roles of the playwright and director.
  • Show this segment along with the Ryan Interview segment in which Arthur Miller discusses drama as a way to connect to the past.

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