The Belle of Amherst: Double Vision
Playing Time: 80 minutes | Playing Space: 4×4 meters, 12×12 feet | Genre: Biographical drama and dance/drama
The Belle of Amherst is a witty, entertaining and profoundly moving drama on the inspired life of poet, Emily Dickinson. The self-proclaimed anchorite of poetry, Emily Dickinson, dressed always in vestal white, often received guests as a disembodied voice behind a screen at the top of the stairs and only once in twenty-five years was she seen outside her father’s house. Still, through both friendships and correspondence, she negotiated passage through the most prestigious international literary groupings of her day. Brilliant and witty, the miniature woman transfixed the conventional literary critics of her time in ‘shock’ n’awe’ with her plethora of irregular poetic devices. But, today, a growing international literary audience designates her as a stunningly innovative 19th-century poet whose own words are the most telling; “Why did they shut me out of heaven? Did I sing too loud?”
Kathleen offers viewers a unique and evocative encounter with the mysterious, ever elusive American poet, whose personality remains as enigmatic as her poetry remains infamous. The growing interest in this eccentric poet is evidenced by the new biographies and international translations of her poems. This interest inspired Belleherst to produce a duo performance of Luce’s play which contrasts Emily’s culturally shackled 19th- century life style with her passionate and bold inner spirit. In alternating performances; one drama, one dance, the contrasting perspectives provide richly layered understanding of the poet. In the danced version of Luce’s play Kathleen Ann Thompson weds Luce’s dramatic text to movement and music depicting Dickinson’s life as a kinetic and visual poem. The proto-surrealist quality of images in Dickinson’s poetry lends a power of surprise and suggestion to Thompson’s dance pictures.