BWW Review: Mad Cow's THE AMISH PROJECT is Real and Unapologizing
On October 2, 2006, in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, a man entered an Amish schoolhouse and shot and killed five young girls. This was a day the Amish community, Pennsylvanians, and the world would never forget, and after seeing THE AMISH PROJECT it is one the audience will never forget as well.
Nearly 11 years later, these types of tragedies still occur and shake the world. In the Orlando community, in particular, the psychological and physical wounds of the Pulse Nightclub shooting are still being felt a year later. While the senseless killing of innocent people is never something one can truly come to grips with, perhaps the most beautiful thing to come out of the mourning process is art. Which is what makes playwright Jessica Dickey' THE AMISH PROJECT so amazing.
Dickey's work is a fictional piece and the characters within it are imagined by her. Aside from a few scenes that draw on the events within the schoolhouse during the shooting, the play revolves around the many characters involved in the incident and within the Amish and surrounding communities. Each of the seven characters is played by the incomparable Trenell Mooring. In recent years, Dickey has given permission for the show to host an ensemble to play the characters within the show, but originally the production was meant to have one actress play all of the parts. Watching Mooring, however, I can see why some theatres choose to use an ensemble. These parts are intense and I was completely in awe of Mooring's ability to not only make each and every one of them unique but also give them life. Delving into each character would most definitely give this show away, but the perspectives and personal trials of the gunman, his widow, their youngest daughter, and the Puerto Rican shop attendant, were particularly interesting.
The playwright's notes may assist in telling the actress how each character should behave, but they cannot instruct them on how to make each role human and more than just a player in this tragedy. That is the gift that Mooring brings to this role. We see these characters as the drama plays out. They go through anger, grief, and finally forgiveness, and Mooring makes their struggles so incredibly compelling.
THE AMISH PROJECT is playing now through September 10 at Mad Cow Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or at madcowtheatre.com.
So, what did you think of THE AMISH PROJECT? Let me know! Don't forget to follow BWW Orlando on Facebook and Twitter by clicking below. You can also connect with me about this show and all things theatre by following me on Twitter @libbychamps.