Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mo'olelo Perfoming Arts Company presents "The Amish Project"

The Amish Project a play inspired by an all too real 2006 shooting in an Amish schoolhouse in which several Amish children were killed poses the question, “in the tightrope intersection of grief, rage, and forgiveness, which path do you take?”  Carol Stuckey played by Iliana Carter finds herself at the receiving end of mercy from the very people affected by the hideous act carried out by her husband Eddie.  Iliana Carter plays all seven characters on stage to include two young girls, America (teen grocery clerk), Bill (spokesman for the Amish community) and a local news reporter, as well as her murderous husband.   Under the direction of MOXIE Theatre’s Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, Iliana portrays each character with honesty, emotional depth and razor sharp transitions.

Carol can only conclude that God doesn’t exist.  This hideous act has ripped her life apart as well as the lives of the victims and their families; still, she is shown forgiveness and love by the Amish community through action rather than just words. Although she feels that she’s unworthy and full of shame their kindness affects her.  The words love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness are never spoken, but they are certainly understood, allowing Carol Stuckey to begin to find a life free from guilt and shame, a life where she can see God on earth through the great faith of others.  Ultimately, she is able to extend that same compassion when she shows up at America’s (teen clerk) house to apologize for a negative reaction, thus lifting the teen, whose self-esteem similarly was in the gutter due to a teen pregnancy.  Though the content involves a senseless crime, playwright Jessica Dickey shines a much bigger light on the characters post incident. Carol is left to deal with the mess Eddie left behind when he took his own life as the police stormed the schoolhouse, but in her interactions with character after character lay the roadmap for her own forgiveness and salvation.  She finds peace in God through the unspoken words of the Amish who are able to rest on their faith even in times of great pain.

Iliana Carter is superb on stage.  She effortlessly moves between characters that alternate in age, culture, ethnicity and gender, at times from sentence to sentence.  Ms. Carter brings to life each of the seven characters on stage with emotional depth and power.

Under the brilliant direction of Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, the creative team for The Amish Project includes David F. Weiner (Scenic Design), Jeannie Galioto (Costume Design), Jason Bieber (Lighting Design), Nicholas Drashner (Sound Design), and Marie Jahelka (Stage Manager).  The team, as is true with every show I’ve seen under Delicia’s direction, does a great job transitioning with movement, lights and sound.  The simple dress of the standard Amish woman and functional, unpretentious set design gave just the right setting for this production.

Mo’olelo has brought to the stage another meaningful, thought-provoking play in The Amish Project.  Make sure not to miss this one.

Click here for more tickets and more information: The Amish Project

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