Welcome to The Belle of Amherst
We never know how high we are
Till we are asked to rise
And then if we are true to plan
Our statures touch the skies—
The Belle of Amherst is a whimsical one-woman show based on the life of Emily Dickinson. Told in two acts, this play gives a voice to one of America's most enigmatic and eccentric poets. Drawing largely from Emily's poetry and letters, The Belle of Amherst is a breathing autobiography of a true nonconformist. For years, scholars have theorized that Emily Dickinson had some form of mental illness. This play gives Emily the chance to answer those scholars in person. Using a stream of conscious flow of poetry and musings, Emily Dickinson is brought to life before the very eyes of her audience.
Emily Dickinson has taken me on a joyful and deeply introspective journey. My sense of kinship grows daily as I learn more about her poetry and her vision of life.
Emily used her poetry to help us see the beauty that is all around us. She was filled with questions about existence, the meaning of being, God and spirituality. She wondered about her purpose and especially about the role of nature.
Emily felt like a misfit in the world, calling herself a “kangaroo among the beauties.” She just couldn’t figure it out. I understand her “cry” deeply. I understand her need to voice this ‘big’ thing deep inside.
I have developed an appreciation of poetry through Emily’s writing. The power and potency of a single word, when carefully selected and carefully placed, can change the world and put a name on “immortality,” another of Emily’s obsessions.
My on-going relationship with Emily Dickinson continues to grow and blossom. I hope my performance can help you understand both Emily and yourself just a little bit better!
Pamela D. Chabora, Ph.D.