What's it about?
Based off a true story, Nickel Mines tells the account of the October 2nd, 2006 Amish school shooting, which took place at the West Nickel Mines School, and explores the aftermath of the devastating tragedy.
THESE ARE NOT STORIES. THEY ARE LIVES.
What'd I experience?
From my way there to being in the theater, I felt like a wimpy, lost freshman just trying to find her place. Luckily, I found The Duke Theater, which I happened to confuse for another theater. When I got my ticket, I was completely lost. There was no clear line division. I asked the usher, and she only confused me more. I just nodded my head like I always do, pretending I understood and awkwardly stood off to the side, hoping to magically figure it out. Spoiler: I didn’t. I just made my way to the back of the line and accepted whatever was going to happen next.
I found a seat in the first row all the way on the right. I have a weird need to always be in the middle to see everything, but surprisingly, I ended up loving my seat. I got a sneak peek into what happens behind the scenes on the left side of the stage, and it even gave me a nice laugh. At a point in the show, there was a long pause, and at first, I thought nothing of it. I thought they were trying to build up suspense, but I learned that one of the actors forgot their line. I watched as a person on the side of the stage whispered the line, which I’ve always imagined but never got to actually see in real life. I can check that off my “Things I Wasn’t Expecting to See In My Lifetime Check-List”.
Another reason why I loved my seat, the show opened with a cute actor standing right in front of me, and at that point, I knew it could only get better from there. I learned that his character’s name was Samuel. And he had me in a trance. Whenever he was on stage, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I identified with him. His regret and anger was something I understood and sympathized with. From his heartbreaking song about losing the girl he loves to his argument with his father about faith, he swept me off my feet. I’d like to mention that he ALSO plays guitar and sings. *swoon*
His viewpoints on the event would correlate with mine, had I been in an event as devastating as the school shooting. After leaving for a little over a year, Samuel reunites with his father, who gives him an ultimatum, either return or be disowned. How Samuel responded had me screaming SHOTS FIIIIYYYAAADDDDD. He says, “You forgive a murderer but you walk away from your son?” It still gives me chills.
I agree. How could one forgive someone for causing heartbreaking pain but not forgive their own son? Their own blood? He just kept hitting me in feels as he later sung about how “He tore us apart and left this pain deep in my heart.” At first, I thought that the song was about God and how it was difficult to understand how God can allow for such tragedies to occur, and I still do to a certain degree, but it also tied into how the shooter, Charles Roberts, took away lives. I sat there, and I understood it was a show, but I just wanted to stop their pain. I couldn’t begin to imagine such a tragedy happening, and I just wanted to magically take their pain away, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t.
It only got more heart-wrenching from there. The family of Charles Roberts described how the tragedy effected them. His wife was judged by society and made to feel guilty for not stopping something she could never imagine. When asked if he seemed different that day, she speaks of how both answers left her feeling trapped. If she says no, she’s branded as not knowing her husband well enough, and if she says yes, then she’s branded as guilty for not stopping it. What answer would YOU give if you were in her position? I honestly don’t know.
His mother, however, has a different and more uplifting outcome. The community forgives her family, yet she still feels obligated and responsible. She takes care of one of the victims, Rosanna, and there was this one scene. Holy crap. I was trying to low key cry, but I couldn’t stop the downstream. As she reads to her, she pauses the story and speaks of how guilty she feels. How she wishes that she could be forgiven, but since Rosanna can’t speak, it’s impossible. Rosanna’s father also takes a jab, singing to his daughter about how he knows that she’s with them. Every bit. The icing on the cake? Her father creates a system to communicate with his daughter, and she writes a note to Charles Roberts’ mother saying, “I forgive you.” Excuse me for a moment while I go cry in a corner.
What I loved most about this show was the concept of forgiveness. It showed their growth as families and as a community. They put aside their anger and chose to forgive not only the shooter but also his family. In the sight of tragedy, they chose to come together saying, “Lord. I will pray. We will not hate.” And the music! Oh the music. I would get the soundtrack on my iPod. It would definitely hype me up. Some of the songs were dark, soulful, and felt like I was in a gospel. Others were soft but had deep meaning behind them.
If I’ve taken anything from this show, it’s to appreciate the little time you have because one day, you can wake up and your whole life can change forever.
Want to see it?
:( Sorry. This show is not currently showing.