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The Amish Project – An Intense Hour Worth Your Time

July 8, 2009

A group of State Theatre staff members including myself, recently went into NYC to the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater for a performance of The Amish Project (presented by the State Theatre in March 2010). If I had one word to describe this show, it would be captivating. For 65 minutes, I, like my co-workers was glued to every word and every movement made by Jessica Dickey, the one-woman actress/playwright of this show.

The play, a fictional exploration of the true events of the 2006 shootings of 5 girls (and the gunman) in an Amish Schoolhouse in Lancaster, PA, is imbued with poetry, humor, and wonder. Throughout the hour, Dickey moves seamlessly back and forth among different characters (including the gunman, his widow, an Amish child, a news reporter, and a 16-year-old Hispanic girl), deftly weaving a complex and thought-provoking web of differing perspectives that explore the major themes of forgiveness and reconciliation. Each character is portrayed with a different voice and very distinct mannerisms that make it clear as to who she is playing at any given moment and all of this while in the same costume of an Amish dress, apron, and bonnet. It is truly a masterclass in acting to watch as she makes you forget that she is playing the deranged gunman while wearing this bonnet.

As intense as the play is, we didn’t leave the theater feeling sad, in fact, it opened a dialogue between us. A dialogue that has been ongoing since we saw the show almost 2 weeks ago. And apparently, we are not the only ones still talking about this show, as the run has been extended to July 12 due to critical acclaim and popular demand (New York Times review. NPR review.) Check it out now at: http://www.rattlestick.org/ or catch it at the State Theatre in March 2010.

–Kelly Skinner, Director of Public Relations

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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