I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!
– From I’m Nobody! Who Are You? by Emily Dickinson
A Visit with Emily Dickinson
Rarely does one have the chance to meet a literary legend, let alone be welcomed into her home.
But audiences of a production of The Belle of Amherst are in for a remarkable and captivating journey.
From the time a polite Emily Dickinson greets her “guests” in the living room of Homestead — her father’s home — to her parting words, audiences are transported back in time, and immersed in a deeply revealing glimpse into the life and driving forces behind one of America’s most revered poets.
Set in the Dickinson household in Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily’s story spans from her fifteenth year in 1845 to the “present day” at age 53 in 1883. In this solo tour-de-force, actress Jane Staab skillfully interprets the powerful script by William Luce that intertwines Dickinson’s work with recollected stories gathered from her letters and diaries.
Staab draws on the script’s humor and drama to reveal a sensitive, complex Dickinson that challenges society’s long-established image of an odd and reclusive spinster poet.
The resulting biographical journey offers insightful and thought-provoking connections between the life and the words of this gifted poet whose writing never saw recognition in her lifetime.
This particular production with Staab originated at Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston in the 1980s. It has been praised by audiences throughout the Northeast for three decades.
Suited for touring, this production is easily staged in smaller spaces such as meeting rooms and class-rooms, as well as in larger venues. Some furniture is needed.
ABOUT JANE STAAB
Jane Staab is an accomplished actress and a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Originally from New Jersey, Ms. Staab began her professional acting career in New York at The Roundabout Theatre in Waiting For Lefty. She understudied Fionnula Flanagan as “Mag” in Brian Friel’s Lovers in the national tour with Art Carney. Other New York and regional credits include roles at Playwrights Horizons, the Spectrum Theatre, the New Jersey and California Shakespeare Festivals, and the Hartford Stage Company. After five years as a founder and actor at the Harwich Winter Theatre, Ms. Staab returned to New York to perform with Frank Langella in The Prince of Homburg on Broadway.
In 1981 Jane co-founded Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston. It was there in 1983 that she first performed The Belle of Amherst – the same Broadway version made famous by Julie Harris and which earned Ms. Harris a Tony Award. Ms. Staab since has performed this poignant script at several theatres and reprised it in 2015 for the Cape Cod Theatre Company – Home of the Harwich Jr. Theatre. She interned at the Harwich Jr. Theatre at age 16, and has returned many times over the years to perform onstage as well as direct musical productions.
This recent revisit with the familiar role of Emily Dickinson has prompted Ms. Staab to revive this living biography. She currently performs this one-woman show as a touring production at venues interested in bringing to their audiences the fascinating biography and stunning poetry of Emily Dickinson.
About Our Touring Productions
The Cape Cod Theatre Company – Home of the Harwich Jr. Theatre is a semi-professional theatre and recognized center for education and outreach on the Cape.
Our touring productions, including the classic The Belle of Amherst, can be scaled for intimate venues such as museums and classrooms or larger auditoriums and stages. Intended to provoke thought and bring history and literature alive, these productions nurture audiences’ passion for theatre that is relevant to our ever-changing and often challenging world.
These productions support special interest group programs as well as middle school, high school, and higher education curriculums in several subject areas. The Belle of Amherst performance run time is two hours including a fifteen-minute intermission. Workshops and/or talk backs can be arranged to supplement the production.
Ready to learn more about our community programs? Contact Tamara Harper, Director of Education and Community Outreach at 508.432.2002 extension 17.