Photo courtesy of Steve Stolee | Jennifer Hodges as Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst,” written by William Luce and directed by Steve Stolee, an Island Theatre production.

Photo courtesy of Steve Stolee | Jennifer Hodges as Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst,” written by William Luce and directed by Steve Stolee, an Island Theatre production.

Hodges to play Emily Dickinson in Island Theatre production

Jennifer Hodges will portray the iconic New England poet Emily Dickinson in Island Theatre’s staged reading of “The Belle of Amherst,” written by William Luce and directed by Steve Stolee, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16 at the Bainbridge Public Library.

Admission is free and open to all.

“The Belle of Amherst” is a whimsical one-woman show based on the life of perhaps the most well-known and beloved poet in American history: Emily Dickinson. Told in two acts, the play gives a voice to the enigmatic and eccentric artist.

Drawing largely from her poetry and letters, the play is a breathing autobiography of a true nonconformist. For years, scholars have theorized that Dickinson had some form of mental illness. This play gives the titular belle the chance to answer those scholars in person. Using a stream of consciousness flow of poetry and musings, Dickinson is brought to life before the very eyes of her audience.

Island Theatre officials said that in a world where women’s choices were severely restricted, Dickinson carved out a singular life behind her doors, and created a new kind of poetry, conversational and intimate, with the rules of verse sometimes set aside. Poetry would never be the same. The show offers a window into her life, a life that was ultimately too big to be lived outside.

Come see why America has always had a love affair with Dickinson, her poetry, and the fascinating life of seclusion she had the courage to choose, to protect her gift and her passion.

The play is recommended for high school age and up. More information is at www.IslandTheatre.org.

Hodges is an actor, director and founder of Bainbridge’s Lesser Known Players. She portrays the reclusive Dickinson, sharing stories of the poet’s family, her work and publishing struggles, thoughts on nature, love, religion and rebellion; a selection of favorite poems from the many hundreds she left, and even a sample of her favorite cake.

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