Heaven Sent, May 11-20, 2012

Dates: May 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 2.
By Rick Whelan and Directed by Jimmy O. Burdette.

Sometimes the greatest gift comes in the smallest package. When a young, abandoned girl in need of care appears at recluse Samuel Langley’s door in the middle of the night, he is revived and begins to find the beauty in life.  Be captivated by the story of how a troubled man finds redemption through the simple need of an innocent child.

The World of Heaven Sent

Heaven Sent is set in the hard-scrabble world of Appalachia, circa 1933. The Great Depression is ravaging families across America. Samuel Langley, a bitter recluse in his late 60s, lives on the edge of the rural community of Raveloe, Kentucky. He is an herbalist, supporting himself by making homemade remedies. Samuel was raised in a strict religious sect where he was cheated and disgraced by his pious brethren. He fled the cult and settled in Raveloe, “hidden even from God.” Samuel suffers from epilepsy…and his frequent fits make him a mysterious, dark figure in the tight-knit southern community.

Life has conspired to make Samuel a misanthrope. He keeps his fortune -a considerable sum-hidden in a hole in his cabin. One night, semi-conscious, and in the throes of an epileptic fit, Samuel is robbed of all his money.

Audrey Winthrop, a pious woman in the village, has a soft spot in her heart for Samuel. When a young child, abandoned by her father and forsaken by her mother, finds her way to Samuel’s doorstep one cold winter night, Samuel thinks his gold has been returned to him in the form of the child’s golden tresses. He decides he wants to keep the child. Mrs. Winthrop, convinced God has sent the child to Samuel as a kind of redemption, helps him as he struggles to keep and raise the child, now christened Eppie. Slowly, the young girl shows Samuel how to savour anew the joys of life.

The play, very loosely based on the 19th-century British novel Silas Marner by George Eliot, is the story of a troubled man’s redemption through the simple needs of an innocent child.

Heaven Sent, winner of the Barter Theatre’s Appalachian Playwrights’ Festival, was presented in the fall of ’09 at the Barter. It is a play that deals honestly with man’s enduring need to nurture. As Samuel says, “Life is hard for little things.” I hope the play portrays Samuel’s redemption with compassion, humor and an honest depiction of man’s need to love and be loved in return.

Rick Whelan
Heaven Sent Cast List>>>

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