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ISU Theatre and Dance presents The Amish Project, November 4

PErson facing the other way in Amish dress

The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance will present one performance of The Amish Project in Westhoff Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 4. An invited dress rehearsal will be open to current Illinois State students free of charge at 3 p.m. on the same day.

The Amish Project, written by Jessica Dickey, is a fictional retelling of the 2006 Nickel Mines shooting. One woman channels a kaleidoscope of voices in reaction to a true life mass shooting in an Amish schoolhouse. Focusing on the aftermath of the tragedy and the Amish community’s reaction toward the widow of the gunman, the play demonstrates the power of forgiveness and the ripple effect of compassion.

This production features award-winning actress Marianne Savell, and is directed by School of Theatre and Dance faculty member Robert Quinlan. The two originally staged the play at Seattle’s Taproot Theatre and later at the Fire Exit Theatre in Calgary. The event is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the University Foundation Fund, as well as the Alice and Fannie Fell Trust.

According to the South Seattle Emerald, “Savell’s performance was brilliant. … Each time (she) performed a different character, it was with the same specificity and care. Her unwillingness to make any character a stereotype made each one human.” Arts Stage stated of The Amish Project, “With no props but a window, chair and cigarette, Savell manages to present a community and, with its members, a message of tolerance and forgiveness.”

Marianne Savell in "The Amish Project."

Marianne Savell in “The Amish Project.”

The performance will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Savell, Quinlan, and members of the School of Social Work faculty. The performance runs approximately 75 minutes and will be followed by the 15-minute discussion.  Additional artistic staff include School of Theatre and Dance students James Morrison as the lighting designer and Emily Quick as the stage manager.  The sound was designed by New York-based artist Ryan Hopper.

For tickets or additional information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, which is located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts and is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online by visiting Tickets are $10 general admission. Performance parking is available for free in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, 400 W. Beaufort St., Normal.