Synopsis

Written by Jessica Dickey
Directed by Daniel Elihu Kramer

In this stunning tour-de-force, a single actress plays a host of characters in an Amish community devastated by a terrible tragedy. From a convenience store worker to the gunman himself, each character comes to life — those trapped in cycles of grief or rage, and those who have a truly unexpected reaction. Jessica Dickey’s fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines Schoolhouse Shooting is a tale of redemption that forges a path of forgiveness and compassion in the aftermath of inexplicable violence. Featuring Allison McLemore (Tryst, the Nibroc Trilogy).

“Extraordinary… a remarkable piece of writing”
    – New York Times 

Performances are August 14-24.
Wednesday-Saturday at 8 pm. Thursday and Sunday at 2 pm.

Post-performance TalkBacks follow our Thursday 2pm and Saturday 8pm shows.
Post-performance Panel Forum follows our Sunday, August 17 2pm show.

The Amish Project is sponsored by Jane and Marty Schwartz
Daniel Elihu Kramer (Director) is sponsored by Cipora Brown and Steven Feiner
Production Design is sponsored by Gail and Michael Perlman
Media is sponsored by

Valley Advocate Preview Logo

 

 

Cast

 

Velda, Anna, Carol Stuckey, Bill North, Sherry Local, America, Eddie Stuckey
Allison McLemore*

*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
in the United States

Artists

Playwright: Jessica Dickey
Directed by: Daniel Elihu Kramer
Set Design: Travis George
Lighting Design: James McNamara
Costume Design: Emily Dunn
Sound Design: David Wiggal
Stage Manager: Sarah E. Dion*

Articles

Chester Theatre’s ‘Amish Project’: Living after violence
from Berkshire Eagle/Berkshires Week, August 13 2014, by Kate Abbott

Reviews

“This is a tough, probing play that is as much about the craft of storytelling and the nature of theater as a storytelling medium as it is a thoughtful, smartly crafted look at the strength and resilience of the human spirit.”Actress Allison McLemore, who seems to have found a nourishing artistic home in Chester, where she has five previous productions to her credit, works seamlessly and fully as she shifts back and forth among the play’s characters…

“Working with her frequent Chester collaborator, director Daniel Elihu Kramer, McLemore misses neither a beat nor a nuance. Her character depictions are rich, distinctive, fully dimensional, all in the service of a haunting play that does what all good storytelling should do — engage the imagination as it stimulates the heart and the mind.”
–Jeffrey Borak, Berkshire Eagle

“Under the obviously thoughtful direction of Daniel Elihu Kramer, the Associate Artistic Director of the CTC, ‘The Amish Project’ is written for one actor who is required to portray a number of characters associated with the incident, including two of the schoolgirls, the shooter’s widow, a college professor trying to help the local community understand the Amish, a young Hispanic checkout clerk, a Southern housewife relocated to the community and even the shooter himself. This is not an easy part to play, not only because of the differing ages and accents of the characters, but because, as the play builds to its climax, Dickey switches between perspectives so quickly and frequently that an actor has very little time to think.

“Fortunately for CTC audiences, the amazing Allison McLemore has returned to eschew this role, and she has clearly mastered all of its difficult challenges. She creates individualized and distinguishable personalities for each of her seven characters and demonstrates an ability to transform into a different one at a moment’s notice. This is complicated by the fact that the playwright requests that the actor remain dressed in typical Amish garb throughout the play, with the apron, the solid maroon dress and the bonnet, requiring McLemore to use her vocal skills and body movements to cue the audience in as to which character is speaking at any time.
–Andrew Beck, Springfield Examiner

“McLemore’s luminous and expressive face conveys each character’s intensely personal relationship to the larger catastrophe, in a way that the audience is in thrall to the rapid fire morphing they are witness to. She compels us to listen, even to the murderer, or the hateful outsider with the same respectful attention as to Carol, the shocked wife, or Velda the adorable, enthusiastic Amish child. America, the pregnant sixteen-year-old grocery clerk’s story is just as compelling and shows how each of our littler human dramas contribute to the great mystery of human existence. Bill North, the professor, serves as a vehicle of exposition and sanity with quiet authority. 

“Never has John Donne’s ‘No man is an island. . .’ resonated more than in the interweaving of these people’s lives. Dickey’s theme on the nature of forgiveness and reconciliation amidst the tragedy of violence and hatred is not only a theatrical but a soul-searching experience.”
–Gloria Miller, CurtainUp

“McLemore, dressed in a simple, single Amish outfit designed by Emily Dunn, moves among these diverse characters with ease and skill and I was never confused at any point in the play as to which person I was seeing on stage. Even when a monologue consisted of two short sentences, the transition the actress made into and out of that character was specific and simple. The chore she has taken on is remarkable and very well executed.”
–Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus