The Belle of Amherst
September 24-October 10, 2010
Sound Theatre Company’s production of The Belle of Amherst starring Maria Glanz returns for a limited engagement at Knutzen Family Theatre in Federal Way, presented by Centerstage. Don’t miss the production the Seattle Times calls “Exquisite…A jewel with every aspect in perfect alignment…glorious!” Maria Glanz reprises her critically acclaimed performance as Emily Dickinson. One of the most beloved...
Sound Theatre Company’s production of The Belle of Amherst starring Maria Glanz returns for a limited engagement at Knutzen Family Theatre in Federal Way, presented by Centerstage. Don’t miss the production the Seattle Times calls “Exquisite…A jewel with every aspect in perfect alignment…glorious!” Maria Glanz reprises her critically acclaimed performance as Emily Dickinson. One of the most beloved American poets, Emily Dickinson is known only through her letters and her vast collection of poems; much of her private, secluded life in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the mid-nineteenth century remains a mystery. Her poetry, published after her death, reveals a contemporary sensibility that transcends the limitations of her provincial life, her gender and her era. Accompanied by cellist Brad Hawkins’ live original musical score, William Luce’s tour de force one-woman drama utilizes these writings to depict a witty, passionate, and conflicted woman wrestling with the largest questions of existence.
Maria Glanz - Emily Dickinson
Brad Hawkins - Musician
Craig Wollam - Scenic Designer
Richard Schaefer - Lighting Designer
Deborah Sorenson - costume Designer'
Brad Hawkins - Composer
Teresa Thuman - Director
Event Name: The Belle of Amherst
Article: The Belle of Amherst: A Simple Visit with Emily Dickinson
The Seattle Gay News - Oct 05, 2010
By Miryam Gordon
Poet Emily Dickinson lived as a recluse in her family home in Amherst, Massachusetts. This is but one of the things you learn about her from this...
Poet Emily Dickinson lived as a recluse in her family home in Amherst, Massachusetts. This is but one of the things you learn about her from this production of The Belle of Amherst, by William Luce. Sound Theatre Company is performing the play at Stone Soup Theatre.
Teresa Thuman directs Maria Glanz in this lovely one-woman show. Glanz perfectly inhabits Emily Dickinson, as she invites you into her parlor for tea. She makes you cozily at home, offering her recipe for cake. She tells you of her nosy neighbors and her family, sharing portraits and history and many poems.
Glanz delivers the poetry with great affection and precision. Her love of language is palpable. She looks the part in a lovely white gown by Deborah Sorenson and proper white boots. She sews a little, mends a little, gardens a little, and tells stories.
The set, designed by Ray Bunnage with prop support from Kirsten McCory, creates just the right shabby-chic parlor design, with tapestry furniture covers and an antique feel. Delicate lighting changes by Chris Schofield help us delineate between the past and the present as Glanz slips backward in time to her teen years, showing what her life was like. Another excellent addition is the presence of Brad Hawkins and his cello, where he becomes the voice of non-present family members and provides original compositions throughout the production.
The effect is enchanting and winning. It deserves to be seen, so get this on your calendar and go. If you love Dickinson, language, historical plays or glimpses of what life might have been like in the late 1800s, you'll have a great time.
This is a full-length production, as opposed to what seems to be the trend toward long one-acts, so you'll need to bring your patience. There's not much controversy or great dramatic revelation to shake you up. It's a simple visit with an extraordinary woman, who is owed respectful attention and appreciation for her talent.
For more information, go to www.soundtheatrecompany.org or www.brownpapertickets.com or call 800-838-3006.
Comments on reviews go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event Name: The Belle of Amherst
Article: Dickinson's Multifaceted Life at Knutzen Family Theatre
The News Tribune - Oct 01, 2010
By Alec Clayton
When Maria Glanz’s Emily Dickinson welcomes the Centerstage audience into her Amherst, Mass., home, there is a deep feeling of welcome in this most...
When Maria Glanz’s Emily Dickinson welcomes the Centerstage audience into her Amherst, Mass., home, there is a deep feeling of welcome in this most intimate of plays, “The Belle of Amherst,” co-produced by Centerstage and Seattle’s Sound Theatre Co.
“The Belle of Amherst” is a one-woman play with only one person other than Glanz on the stage: cellist Brad Hawkins performing the music he wrote for this production.
Dressed all in white, as she always was, Dickinson steps into her living room (a stunning set by Craig Wollam, co-founder of Seattle Scenic Studios) and offers her guests (the audience) a taste of her black cake. She proudly shares the recipe – which, with 8 pounds of raisins and currents, sounds like it could make enough to feed an army. Then she begins to act out the stories of her life.
Fifty years old and not yet recognized as a great poet, she lives an almost reclusive life. At this point, she has published only a handful of poems, and those anonymously; she finds it difficult to connect with other people. For example, she befriends an editor of the Atlantic Monthly via mail, sends him her poems, and carries on an eight-year correspondence – only to have him brutally reject her writing and her, when they finally meet.
Her life is filled with disappointment and unrequited love, and yet she remains almost always upbeat, hopeful and witty. Seamlessly gliding between Dickinson as narrator and acting out scenes from the poet’s life, Glanz conveys all of this with such skill and so naturally that you feel she is, indeed, Emily Dickinson and you are a much-loved guest in her home.
Hawkins’ cello complements the story in all its parts, setting the mood and in places sounding like another actor conversing with Glanz. Only in brief moments did the cello overpower the actor’s voice.
Glanz has won international acclaim as a solo performer, including such awards as “Best of Fest” in Edmonton and Winnipeg Fringe festivals and “Artistic Pick” in the 1999 and 2001 Seattle Fringe Festivals. Her performance in this play shows why she has won such awards.
The play written by William Luce provides entertaining insights into Dickinson’s life and makes extensive use of her poetry. Not only does she read many of her poems during the course of the play, but she drops lines from them into her conversation in a very natural manner.
This play is dramatic, romantic and sad; but most of all witty.
Wollam’s set is as warm and welcoming as the character in the play. Doors, windows, a short staircase and furniture stand on a midnight blue floor and hang in front of a midnight blue backdrop, creating the feeling that they are floating in air. It is not only beautiful, it is simultaneously otherworldly and homey. ‘The Belle of Amherst’
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 10, plus one Saturday matinee on Oct. 9
Where: Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 S.W. Dash Point Road, Federal Way
Tickets: $10 to $25 depending on age, group discounts available
More information: 253-661-1444, www. centerstagetheatre.com
Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/10/01/1363863/dickinsons-multifaceted-life.html#ixzz11WqwQjEY
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