Playwright Rick Whelan said as he was driving to Easley on Thursday, he began to think about the time he had spent in the south.
Whelan, a former actor, said that when he couldn't find work in New York as an actor, there always seemed to be a job that brought him to the south.
He said driving into South Carolina, he remembered he had actually visited the state before, years ago, to attend his brother's wedding in Columbia. But he also thought about his friend and fellow actor Mary Lucy Bivins, a Spartanburg native, whose father, Whelan said, was born in Easley.
But it's not family or friends who brought him to Easley this weekend, it was the opportunity to see his work come to life.
Whelan's "Heaven Sent" will debut in South Carolina at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11 at .
Whelan doesn't attend every opening of his show, but he said he felt drawn to Easley and to meeting Jimmy Burdette, the show's director.
"I had heard so much about Jimmy, that I wanted to come to meet him," Whelan said. "I have a few other shows that might be right for him to look at too. But mostly, I just enjoy seeing the play done."
Whelan got a taste of Burdette's take on the play Thursday afternoon as the final dress rehearsal and run through of the play were happening.
"It's fantastic," Whelan said. "I can't wait to see more."
"Heaven Sent" is based very, very loosely on George Eliot's 1861 novel, "Silas Marner." Set in Kentucky during the American Great Depression, "Heaven Sent," is the story of a young girl named Eppie, abandoned as a baby, who wins the heart of a recluse Samuel Langley, who concocts medicinal potions that he sells not to earn a living, but to build his only obsession in life — a sack of coins. Langley begins to see the beauty in life, while caring for the needs of a growing young girl, who appeared at his door in the middle of the night.
The cast for the show includes:
- Tommy Sorrels as Samuel Langley
- Josie Merck as Baby
- Edgar Rainey as Pastor Sims
- Alexandre Marcondes as Del Cass
- Matt Harris as Tom Cass
- Bethany Bowen as Nancy Flagg
- Tim Spears as (adult) Aaron
- Sabrina Robinson as Molly
- Stu Adamo as Ralph Budleigh
- Lisa Burns as Mrs. Winthrop
- Myckael “Spyder” Yeargin as young Samuel
- Dylan Lawter as boy Aaron
- Lindsey Loparo as adult Eppie
- Tim Spears, Sr. as minister
- Evie Seitz as young girl
Shows will continue this weekend at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The show also will run May 18-20. Shows will be at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and $6 for children and students and may be purchased online.