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A CurtainUp Berkshire Review Emily"The little sentences I never began and never finished. . .the little wells I dug and never filled. . ." So begins Emily a new play about Emily Dickinson that has been playing two nights a week at Mixed Company's tiny theater in Great Barrington since mid-May, before the crush of the summer season and its cornucopia of bigger productions on larger stages.
Written by Great Barrington writer and film maker Mickey Friedman, this is not a copycat Belle of Amherst, the mono-drama made famous by Julie Harries and the title that most often comes to mind when associating theater and Emily Dickinson. (Actually, one of the first play's about Dickinson was a little known Pulitzer Prize winning play by Susan Glaspell, Alison's House).
Friedman's play stars one of the areas most justifiably admired actresses, Tod Randolph, as Emily's older persona, and a promising thespian and student from Simon's Rock College, Katie Kreifels, as her younger alter ego. As the play unfolds, the older-younger selves also reveal themselves as Dickinson's conscious and unconscious self. A third actor, Thom Whaley, portrays the man with whom Dickinson corresponded extensively, T. W. Higginson.
This unusual dramatic format is a bit confusing at first, but under the direction of John Hadden, a founding member of Shakespeare & Company, but the unusual "double play" sorts itself out. Two and a half hours is also at least a half an hour too long. Still, the chance to hear some of Dickinson's beautiful poetry has attracted enough local theater goers to extend the play's run to the end of June. Though there are no plans for further productions afoot (some of this little company's plays have moved on to win wider audiences), playwright Friedman is happy to have this play which has been germinating for five years come to life.
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