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Under the Skin of America's Greatest Poet (and most famous recluse)

BY Charlotte Day | 06-Jan-2018
Born under the train tracks in New York City, Dickinson's Room is a site-specific theatrical experiment, dedicated to the mind and art of Emily Dickinson. This February, we bring America’s greatest poet, and most famous recluse, to the Adelaide Fringe.
Born under the train tracks in New York City, Dickinson's Room is a site-specific theatrical experiment, dedicated to the mind and art of Emily Dickinson. This February, we bring America’s greatest poet, and most famous recluse, to the Adelaide Fringe.

Performed by one actress, using only Dickinson’s poetry and letters, the piece borders on physical theatre and dance, suspended between the realities of the poet's solitary life and the boundless universe of her imagination. It seeks to give dramatic form to the intrinsically un-dramatic: the spaces and silences from which great thoughts, and with them great words, proceed.

In the piece’s Australian premiere, an audience of twenty will accompany Dickinson on her travels from room to room, poem to poem. They may choose when to sit, stand, spy on Emily, give her privacy. One of our Edinburgh Fringe reviewers commented that, “there is a wonderful sense of freedom to the work, it doesn’t feel pinned to a stage.” (M Johnson, Broadway Baby) All we ask of our audiences - as Emily loves, philosophises, questions God - is that they come prepared to listen, watch the shadows fall, and perhaps have their souls touched.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) spent most of her adult life in voluntary isolation. Knowing she could not write under any other conditions, she rarely left her room, let alone her father’s house in Amherst, Massachusetts. The result was over a thousand poems, many of them among the best our language has to offer. Dickinson, in Bad Neighbour Theatre’s theatrical treatment, is played by Miranda McCauley - who has been described as “charming and playful […] totally absorbing when moving about the space.” (Broadway Baby) Dickinson’s Room is directed, with “masterfully and subtly applied” (Broadway Baby) sound design, by Charlotte Day. The adaptation is the product of a year-long collaboration between Day and McCauley.

Dickinson’s Room will be performed in the Balcony Rooms at the historic Buckingham Arms Hotel - Fringe Lodge; February 23rd - March 4th, 6pm. Tickets are available through FringeTIX. Dickinson’s Room is also participating in the YEP! Schools Program, and the BankSA Support Act Program.

Bad Neighbour Theatre is an experimental company based in New York, USA and Saint Petersburg, Russia. Under the artistic direction of Charlotte Day and Vyacheslav Komarnitsky, we make work in English and Russian, drawing from classical and contemporary stimuli. Our permanent acting troupe is international, diverse, and rapidly growing. Recent productions have included original adaptations of The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (dir. C Day) and Nikolai Leskov’s The Toupee Artist (dir. V Komarnitsky). A previous version of Dickinson’s Room has been performed in New York, and at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, under the title The Emily Triptych.