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THE RUMSPRINGA INCIDENT
A screenplay by
David Orange & Kurt Teske
A young Old Order Amish beauty and a brash forbidden Outsider neighbor have a secret affair in a secluded orchard while the clan’s bishop pursues to marry her.
A sheltered hilltop orchard that separates two farms—one of them Amish-owned, becomes the setting for a most unusual and heartfelt story of star crossed lovers, while their land becomes coveted by energy companies seeking what lies “deep below” them.
Can love overcome a radical clash of cultures: the cloistered Christianity of the Old Order Amish versus modern American materialism; the love of knowledge and its risks versus the safety and comfort of tradition; or the allure of celebrity and money versus duty to family and to God? At the heart of The Rumspringa Incident lays one of the most unusual love triangles:
• ERIC STODDARD, a brash country kid with the hottest pitching arm in college baseball is labeled a “can’t miss” future Major League star. When he returns to his father’s Pennsylvania farm to help out during summer break, a chance meeting in the orchard with his “taboo” neighbor tears into his heart like a buzz saw.
• SARAH STOLTZ, a beautiful young woman whose natural gifts of intelligence and healing seem thrown to the winds because she was born into the Old Order Amish and must fight for every grain of knowledge she feels compelled to learn. Her sect, following strict Biblical gender roles, offers a rock-solid foundation of family love, ordered living, and a deep spiritual life. Yet this foundation supports a deadly prison for this high-spirited girl who yearns to be a doctor for her sect’s education stops after the eighth grade… yet Eric guarantees her much more than that. When all seems to fail, what Sarah finds in the private journal of Eric’s father upon his death shocks her to the core.
• JONAH ESCH, the strongest, most fervent and traditional young man in the Old Order, gifted with a Babe Ruthian ability to swing a baseball bat, becomes the bishop of his people and then makes a radical break with everything he’s believed in order to save them from obliteration. The intense, unusual, competitive and passionate relations among these three form the core of The Rumspringa Incident.
Major obstacles face Eric’s and Sarah’s love and none more than when he, sensing losing her, gets into a brawl that lands him in jail for manslaughter. Will Sarah wait for Eric’s release, or will she obey the Old Order and marry Jonah? Will Eric find the strength and insight to change his life with Sarah, or is his infatuation with her a dead end and career mistake? Will Sarah ever become the person she knows she was meant to be? Can she help end the awful plague of genetic childhood disease caused by the inevitable inbreeding within a small Amish community “fenced off to the world” and often with no choice but to marry their cousins?
Who really wins when a great pitcher collides with a born slugger in one of the greatest duels in baseball history? Will Jonah learn the true value of his tradition, and also find some goodness in the Outside world?
Urban sprawl slicing away at Amish farmland isn’t their only problem. Inching closer towards their homestead is fracking. Energy companies covet the immense reservoir of hidden natural gas that is part of the Marcellus shoal deep below Amish land. Will the Old Order succumb to the sizeable money fracking companies are offering to lease their land?
Would fracking, extremely fraught with environmental and safety concerns, be a Faustian deal destined to change this Amish sect’s peaceful landscape forever?
The Rumspringa Incident brings a slice of American life as unique and contemporary as tomorrow’s headlines yet as timeless as the great questions of faith, belief, success, fate and disappointment. A heartbreaking and inspiring story not easily categorized but unforgettable and vast in scope, The Rumspringa Incident offers the mind and heart a sometimes tragic, sometimes comic epic that will leave readers wanting to follow where these peoples’ lives go after this uniquely original tale.
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