Tucked in the downstairs of the Bird in Hand Family Restaurant is the Bird in Hand Theater. Currently on stage is a musical adaption of a book by Wanda E Brunstetter entitled 'The Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club'.
Both the play and the book bring together the Amish widow Emma Yoder her friend Lamar and a class of misfits who all have all answered Emma's add to take a six week quilting class. The cast of characters includes Pam and Stuart a married couple with a lot of issues, there is also Jan Sweet a biker who has issues of his own. Rounding out the quilting class are Star a girl who feels unloved, Paul a father who recently lost his wife and Rudy Lee a pastor's wife.
The musical, while based on the book, takes some creative leeway and moves the location of the quilting class from Indiana to the little hamlet of Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania. It is there the little group of quilters meets each week with Emma in the guise of discussing the fine are of quilting. What ensues with each class is a little of quilting instruction and lot of humor, soul searching and advice from Emma on how each of the group members should deal with each of their problems.
Emma, who is deeply rooted in the Amish faith tries to show the group that with God anything is possible, be it creating a beautiful quilt or healing the hurts which lie deep inside.
Fans of the play should pick up the book and read it from cover to cover. That is what I did mainly in order to try and get closer to the characters in the play. I wanted to know the back stories of their lives and what drew them to keep attending the class even when they all at one time or another. Giving away to many details of the plot line will take away from the spontaneity of the play as well as the I can't wait to see what happens next aspect of the book.
The play and the book both create believable characters who when you think about it are not unlike ourselves, hiding hurts and seeking to be loved. Don't take my word, pick up the book get wrapped up in the story and if you're near Bird in Hand, PA or any other place where the play is being staged get a couple of tickets and enjoy the show.