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Old Mill to host "The Belle of Amherst"

ELIZABETHTOWN A 19th century poet whose work remained largely undiscovered until her death, Emily Dickinson is remembered for her genius and her peculiarity. She spent the latter part of her life as a recluse, locked away in her Massachusetts home. Its fitting, then, that a play about her feature just one actor. Kathleen Recchia will star Sept. 19-21 in a production of The Belle of Amherst, a widely published play by William Luce. The Old Mill Art Studio hosts the performance, which will benefit the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks. The 6:30 p.m. performances will act as a source of evening entertainment throughout the weekend, especially for people attending Elizabethtowns Field Forest and Stream Festival on Sept. 20. Though Recchia has starred in several other shows, both at the Old Mill and elsewhere, she is anxious for her first try at a one-woman show. Ive never memorized that much in my life before, she said. Still, her efforts have helped her appreciate her character even more than before. Her poetry is timeless, Recchia said in reference to Dickinson. She captures the world and humanity in her poems. Some of that poetry has been woven into the dialogue, portraying Dickinson in the truest sense. The playwright has taken up the theme that shes a recluse, explained Recchia. Shes a little batty, added Tyler Nye, the SUNY Plattsburgh theater major who is directing the play, but the thing is that she realizes shes batty. Its more fun for her to be the village eccentric. That peculiarity is evident as Recchias character often speaks to imaginary people. I never realized how important it would be to have the characters who dont really exist blocked, mused Recchia, noting the initial challenge of acting alongside people who werent actually there. Both Recchia and Nye agree that the art studio offers an excellent setting for the play with the small stage facilitating an intimate connection with the audience There is an antiquated feeling and a rustic landscape, which work beautifully for the nature of the play. It's really aesthetic, Nye said. General admission is $12 for the performances and seating is limited. For reservations, call 946-8323.

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