|wonderful ladies in in my family: my sisters, my mom, my cousin and my aunt|
It's a familiar tale, one we've heard before. Young woman unexpectedly discovers she was adopted, and sets off in search of her roots. Only this time there's a twist, because the young woman is ... Amish??
The Confession is a musical based on three books by writer Beverly Lewis and set in a close-knit Amish community. One newspaper article's headline states that in the production "powerful music and a leavening of humor infuse ... serious themes," and this is quite true. At times the drama inspires tears and at other times, laughter. With colorful characters and a tangled web of secrets which are continually coming to light, the story succeeds in both entertaining and perhaps even motivating audiences to consider their own stories.
It certainly caused me to consider mine.
Thankfully I had read Beverly Lewis' trilogy sometime before attending the production because as an adoptive mother, the adoption theme hit very close to home. Once again I understood that depending on one's position in the "adoption triad," this story could be heartwarming or very difficult to consider. In the musical (spoiler warning) there is eventually a very warm adoptee/birth mother reunion followed by subsequent loss. As I personally reflected on how my two daughters might feel watching this, I realized that the daughter with an open adoption might fall into the "heartwarming" category while the daughter with a closed adoption would probably feel very sad because she does not know if or when a reunion will every occur for her.
In fact, after seeing the musical for the second time (I saw it once in Indiana with a good friend and then in Lancaster, PA with the sweet women in my family) I felt very strongly that the musical ought to come with a disclaimer or at least some kind of hint that it addresses adoption. Some scenes really are very powerful and in my opinion, it is such a emotional and personal theme that viewers for whom it might be difficult should know beforehand. I took advantage of the feedback card to say so!
That being said, I must conclude on a positive note by saying this truly is a quality production - fresh and funny, sweet and tender. The songs are memorable, and from the adoption viewpoint there are three that are quite special. The first - "I'm Lost" - is the lead character's emotional response to learning about her adoption for the first time and questioning her identity as a result. The second - "Where You Are" - is a spine-tingling trio between the character's adoptive mother, birth mother, and herself. It is absolutely gorgeous, and by far my favorite in the entire musical. And finally, the third - "So Nice to Finally Meet You" - is the gentle song exchanged between the lead character and her birth mother when they finally reunite.
And the best news is this - you can listen to them online! If you do, I'd love it if you leave me a comment and let me know what you think. :)