Dickinson's Life Highlighted in 1-Woman Show

By Voight, Sandye | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), October 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

Dickinson's Life Highlighted in 1-Woman Show


Voight, Sandye, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


if you go play preview: "The Belle of Amherst" Producer: Main Street Players Performer: RoseAnne Shansky Times/dates: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 18-19, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 Site: DeSoto House Hotel, 230 S. Main Street, Galena, Ill. Cost: $18 synopsis This is a one-woman play by William Luce, based on the life of poet Emily Dickinson from 1830 to 1886 and set in her home in Amherst, Mass. It makes use of her work, diaries and letters, recollecting her encounters with significant people in her life. tidbits - The play premiered on Broadway on April 28, 1976, starring Julie Harris. - Director Ronn Toebaas has been a professional Chicago and Galena, Ill., director and actor for more than 45 years. For nine years, he was the artistic and managing director at the Theatre of Western Springs. He has directed and performed with Chicago's Light Opera Works, the North Shore Theatre Co. and many of the theater groups across Chicago's northern suburbs.You might remember the Emily Dickinson whose poems you read in high school English class:

"Because I could not stop for Death - He kindly stopped for me - '

"Hope is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul -"

And you might remember something about her bizarre, reclusive life.

RoseAnne Shansky, a Michigan-based actress, will reprise her role in the one-woman play, "The Belle of Amherst," in three performances, the weekend of Oct. 18-20, at the DeSoto House Hotel, in Galena, Ill.

Shansky, retired from teaching English at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., first performed as the 19th-century American poet in 1981, in Chicago, as part of the Actors Ensemble, a company launched by Ronn Toebaas, who now lives in Galena.

Shortly after she was assigned the role, her husband lost his job in Chicago and found one teaching in Big Rapids, Mich.

"I learned the lines in Michigan, then spent one frantic week rehearsing in Chicago," she said. "I read a lot about her. Richard Sewall's biography of her is fascinating. Her personal life is so bizarre that it takes over. …

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