Fishburne said that she knew what kind of show she wanted to create before she knew exactly what the musical would be about: “I wanted to create a serious musical that also had joy and humor.” | Photo by Shallah Divine Dozier
Fishburne | Provided

Boundless, a new musical written by Mary Fishburne tells a story about young Amish women navigating loss while coming of age in a complicated world. The musical celebrates the second weekend of its professional premiere at Flowertown Players in Summerville, directed by Thomas Keating.

The musical is based on the true events of the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting in Lancaster, Penn., in 2006, and takes place ten years later.

Fishburne and Keating. | Photo by Shallah Divine Dozier

This weekend offers four chances to see the show at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 23-26.

Playwright Fishburne is a former Charleston resident who was involved in the theater scene from 2011 to 2018, acting in more than 40 productions. She now resides in Philadelphia, though she credits Charleston for her artistic endeavors. 

“In Charleston, I had the opportunity to make art,” Fishburne said. “There were ways to gain experience in all facets of theater, including being on the creative team behind productions. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was collecting the data I needed to write a full musical. This show should premiere in Charleston because it was here where I learned everything I needed to know.”

Once her husband got a job in Philadelphia, Fisburne moved there, “reluctantly, but with the goal of writing a show.”

“I am beyond thrilled to share Boundless with my South Carolina community under the direction of Thomas Keating, who directed me in the Footlight Players’ production of South Pacific at the Dock Street Theatre over 10 years ago.” 

Keating said that he and Fishburne have been “truth-telling, career-supporting, artistically-advocating buddies ever since.”

Boundless tells a story of hope amidst tragedy, Keating said. “It’s based on hope and forgiveness and the special bond that these women form — watching them overcome their individual obstacles and realizing how much more alike they are than different.”

Fisburne said she could remember exactly where she was when she heard about the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting in 2006.

“To me, this story captured the spectrum of the most evil, and the most generous and forgiving. [It] just stopped me in my tracks,” she said. “When I heard about and when I reflected back on this massacre, I absolutely couldn’t believe how the Amish were so full of grace that day.

“I’m not Amish. So I had to ask myself, what do I understand about the human experience that can help me to imagine what someone in that place might be going through?” Fishburne added. “I’m very intrigued with how we make decisions, and what it is exactly that governs our instincts. I relate to the lead character in that way, because she’s wanting a sign from God to give her to inform her baptismal decision. Both characters find momentum and grace and forgiveness in a place that is very surprising. And while one pursuit is secular and one is religious, the destination is ultimately the same.”

Visit to see the second and final weekend of Boundless in Summerville.

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