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CHAGRIN FALLS, OH - You may have studied the poems of Emily Dickinson in school. From your days in English class, perhaps you recall a favorite verse. You likely may also have read about her white dress and learned of her reputation as a recluse, but what of the thousands of un-published poems discovered after her death? What of the likes, loves, heartaches, joys, sorrows and triumphs of one of our great American poets? What did she draw on for inspiration? William Luce's one-woman play 'The Belle of Amherst' seeks to answer these questions and more.
'The Belle of Amherst' makes its Chagrin Valley Little Theatre debut February 21 in CVLT's River Street Playhouse space under the direction of Shelley Bloomfield and Bill Rowe with actress Sue Beattie appearing as Emily Dickinson. The character muses on how past events in her life have impacted her and ponders questions such as, "what do you do when your creative offering is rejected?" and "what is religion, and can you be a Christian outside the institution of the church?" Dickinson's life and attitudes are illuminated through her own words, from the mundanity of her insensitive neighbors and her favorite cake, to her many passionate but unrequited loves.
"Emily was more like you and I than we might imagine," says Beattie, a Chagrin Falls native. "She lived in an old country mill town settled by our Connecticut ancestors. Chagrin Falls is the perfect place for this piece of theatre, as my beloved hometown bears an unmistakeable New England influence and presence."
'The Belle of Amherst' plays on the River Street Playhouse stage at 56 River Street in Chagrin Falls, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM, February 21 - March 8. Tickets are $12. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Tickets for 'The Belle of Amherst'and all CVLT productions can be purchased online at CVLT.org or by phone at 440-247-8955 between 1-6 PM, Monday through Saturday. CVLT is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and supported by the Ohio Arts Council.