60-second review: THE AMISH PROJECT (Simpatico/Renegade)

After a solid run from upstart Renegade Company, THE AMISH PROJECT is getting a revamped co-production with star indie company, Simpatico Theatre Project. Janice Rowland repeats her virtuoso one-woman performance embodying several characters intimately involved in the 2006 Amish schoolhouse massacre. Given added poignancy and relevance by the recent Newtown shooting, THE AMISH PROJECT is an “important” work, with all the heaviness and baggage that implies. It’s easy to get drama and emotion from such an obvious tragedy, but it’s also easy to lose sight of the real humans involved. Fortunately, Jessica Dickey’s script never feels sentimental or pedagogical, instead capturing complex emotion and psychology in characters ranging from young schoolgirls to the killer himself. Much improved production values in the new staging give deserved respect to a nuanced script and stellar acting performance. Jan 15-Feb 3.  simpaticotheatre.org/landing/season/the-amish-project/

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