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Pudding Picks Tale of Life After Death, From Heaven to Hell

By James Crawford, Crimson Staff Writer

The inhabitants of heaven and hell will struggle for their afterlives when the curtain opens on the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 155th production, To Heaven Have Not, the theater company announced this week.

The farce, written by Winthrop House residents William L. Aronson ’04 and J. Benjamin St. Clair ’04 for the Pudding’s annual drag burlesque extravaganza in the spring, features God as a disgruntled proprietor called Land Lord who threatens to smite his tenants—including Rabbi Noah Fense and his counterpart Nun Taken—unless they cough up overdue rent money.

Pudding board members chose Aronson and St. Clair’s work over eight other competing entries.

“This was an incredible year for scripts—the most we’ve ever had,” said Shawn H. Snyder ’03, the Theatricals’ cast vice president. “To Heaven Have Not just felt right.”

The script is the product of a six -month collaboration between the two playwrights.

“We spent a lot of time talking about exactly how we wanted the plot to play out,” said Aronson. “But we only actually wrote the script over eight days in August.”

In order to write the script, the authors zig-zagged across the country for collaborative sessions.

“Ben flew up to my house, I flew down to his house,” Aronson said. “Whenever we were together over those eight days, it was just straight writing. We did nothing else.”

Aronson comes to the project with some prior Theatricals experience, as a member of the pit band two years ago and composer of last year’s play, Snow Place Like Home.

St. Clair says he is enthusiastic about the performing company.

“It’s the biggest student-written theatrical on campus,” he said. “This is also the one time in my life that I’ll get to work with a professional director.”

The duo will work closely with director Tony Parise, who has helmed two of the last three Hasty Pudding productions. “At the same time, you get to write crazy things,” St. Clair said. “This is the cream of the crop of 4th-grade gutter humor.”

—Staff writer James A. Crawford can be reached at crawfor@fas.harvard.edu.

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