Ferrell Marshall is luminous as Emily Dickinson in Sierra Madre Playhouse’s gorgeously staged intimate revival of William Luce’s The Belle Of Amherst, impeccably directed by Todd Nielsen.
Emily Dickinson may only have published a handful of poems during her lifetime (and only known romantic love from afar), but her artistry lives on. Ferrell Marshall brings Emily the poet, the daughter, the sister, and the woman back to incandescent life in a solo production sure to be remembered as one of the year’s finest.
StageSceneLA 2016-2017 SCENIES
OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE PRODUCTION –
Honey B Productions & Sierra Madre Playhouse Productions.
OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE – Ferrell Marshall
OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN – Matthew Hill
DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR – Todd Nielsen for his amazing roster of productions which included Belle!
COSTUME DESIGNER OF THE YEAR – Vicki Conrad for her amazing work this past season which included Belle!
Don’t miss The Belle of Amherst! The play is a treasure, and this production, enhanced by Nielsen’s loving touches and the polish and flair of Marshall’s outstanding work, is another feather in Sierra Madre Playhouse’s hat.
Under director Todd Nielsen’s caring hand – he has a great eye and ear for detail – Marshall gives a truly radiant performance. Even with the most difficult juncture, Dickinson found happiness in her limited world and Marshall imbues her portrayal with every nuance of that joy and passes it on to us who leave the theatre full of hope.
Marshall produces and stars as Emily in a brave and exciting performance. … what she does with the genuine spirit of the lady is a wonder. The play has an upclose, intimate structure. Luce’s ability to interweave Dickinson’s poetry with her friendly chatter is remarkable. One flows beautifully into the other with a seemingly effortless stream of consciousness.
Los Angeles Daily News:
Directed by Todd Nielsen to balance this treasure trove of verbiage with enough action to keep the hearer engaged, the play works to both charm and instruct.
Marshall has a sense of quietness in her portrayal, balancing Emily’s wit and her darkness in ways which make her works make sense and her poetry sing.
From the moment Ferrell Marshall enters … she emanates Emily Dickinson. Ferrell Marshall’s nuances of facial expressions are remarkable at conveying a gamut of emotions—
A telling look at Emily Dickinson. In short, The Belle of Amherst, in the person of Marshall, is worth a look. Come ready to sit and listen, for this is a quiet tale, told without elaborate flourishes. It is, however, a telling look into the person behind such poetry as “Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me… “ or “Hope is the things with feathers…” and perhaps rediscover what poetry can do that prose cannot.
The Stage Struck Review:
Poetry Reigns in The Belle of Amherst in Sierra Madre. Ferrell Marshall has taken on the story of Dickinson with a generous understanding of what her poetry has to say, and the heart of the woman behind all those now-familiar words.
Around this deeply paradoxical figure, William Luce has woven his absorbing and moving one-woman play.
William Luce is every inch a playwright—there is not a false line, not a single awkward transition in the evening that he has provided for Emily Dickinson.
A fine miniature done with the smallest brushes on pure, clean linen, The Belle of Amherst is an enthralling evening.
…magnificent…An arresting, riveting experience unlike any I’ve known…An overwhelming, meticulous adventure full of passion and poetry and heart. William Luce’s text is like poetry itself.
Adroitly fashioned by William Luce, so emotionally varied, so cumulatively riveting that it functions just as a full-fledged play does…Vivacious, vigorous, teasingly honest.
A drama of the spirit.
Playwright William Luce has chiseled a perfectly detailed cameo…By some interior kind of magic, Luce has avoided all the pitfalls associated with literary figures brought to life onstage. He has made an Emily so warm, human, loving and lovable that her ultimate vulnerability will break your heart.
Should be seen in every state of Emily’s America.
The play has been skillfully crafted by William Luce…An unforgettable playgoing experience.
The text is marvelously comprehensive, emotional and revealing. Mr. Luce has woven it in graphic portrait without playing any literary tricks.