By Elisabetta Silvestro
“Heaven Can Wait,” the last theater play directed by City College veteran teacher Susan Jackson, opened Nov. 7 at the Diego Rivera Theatre and will show for two more weekends.
Reciting from the original scripts from Harry Segall’s 1938 play of the same name, the majority of the 16 theater students who made up the cast were acting in a play for the first time.
Jackson, helped by two co-directing students, Kate Van Houten and Kristina Oreskovich, decided “Heaven Can Wait” to be her last play before retiring at the end of the year, after 30 years of teaching at City College.
“It’s a happy play,” she said. “I wanted to end on a happy note.”
At their dress rehearsals, two days before the opening, the students were ready and excited.
About to act in his biggest role ever, the play’s protagonist, Andrew Tinsman, a fifth-semester theater student, said the whole process has been “exciting and nerve-wracking.”
The story is set in 1938. A professional boxer, Joe Pendleton, is mistakenly taken from earth and about to be brought to the “hereafter.” When they realize they made a mistake, the heaven workers, recognizable from an “H” embroidered on their blazers, try to make it up to Pendleton by bringing him back to earth, just in another body.
“It’s a play about what it means to be human, what it means to be alive,” Jackson said.
One of the characters’ lines well explains the meaning of the play, “Our time on earth could be a second, it could be a day in the park, it could be a baby.”
Student actor Inta Tahir said he was a little bit anxious, “But we practiced a lot so I think we’ll be good,” he said.
The next shows will be at the Diego Rivera Theatre, on Ocean Campus, Nov. 15 and 21 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 16 and 22 at 2 p.m.