Arts Briefs: An Emily Dickinson drama in Holyoke, a closing art exhibit in Amherst, and more

A drama about Emily Dickinson takes the stage at MIFA Victory Theatre in Holyoke on Jan. 12.

A drama about Emily Dickinson takes the stage at MIFA Victory Theatre in Holyoke on Jan. 12. ERC website

“Acension,” oil painting by Amherst artist Amy Crawley that’s part of her exhibit this month at the Burnett Gallery at Jones Library in Amherst. 

“Acension,” oil painting by Amherst artist Amy Crawley that’s part of her exhibit this month at the Burnett Gallery at Jones Library in Amherst.  Image courtesy Amy Crawley

Celtic folksinger and songwriter Joe Jencks performs at All Saints’ Episcopal Chuch in South Hadley Jan. 14.

Celtic folksinger and songwriter Joe Jencks performs at All Saints’ Episcopal Chuch in South Hadley Jan. 14. Photo by Bunny Moreau

“Worlds Colliding,” oil painting by Amherst artist Amy Crawley that’s part of her exhibit this month at the Burnett Gallery at Jones Library in Amherst. 

“Worlds Colliding,” oil painting by Amherst artist Amy Crawley that’s part of her exhibit this month at the Burnett Gallery at Jones Library in Amherst.  Image courtesy Amy Crawley

Easthampton children’s book author and illustrator Jeff Mack will discuss his newest book, “Time to Make Art,” at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley on Jan. 20.

Easthampton children’s book author and illustrator Jeff Mack will discuss his newest book, “Time to Make Art,” at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley on Jan. 20. Contributed

“Meadow Drift” by Kathy Ford, fiber art made of hand-dyed cotton, silk organza, and commercial cotton, at the Oxbow Gallery in Easthampton

“Meadow Drift” by Kathy Ford, fiber art made of hand-dyed cotton, silk organza, and commercial cotton, at the Oxbow Gallery in Easthampton Image courtesy Oxbow Gallery

Published: 01-11-2024 11:46 AM

The poet Emily in the Paper City

HOLYOKE — MIFA Victory Theatre is combining forces with the Emily Dickinson Museum and a New York theater company for a fresh look at The Belle of Amherst and her poetic legacy.

“Because I Could Not Stop: An Encounter with Emily Dickinson,” which will be staged Jan. 12 at Holyoke Media, stars Angelica Page as the famous poet in a production that’s written by James Melo and which features the music of 19th-century composer Amy Beach.

“Because I Could Not Stop” is a co-production with Ensemble for the Romantic Century, a New York company that blends theater with music and varied visuals in a multidisciplinary approach designed to “recapture the past with a sense of immediacy that transports, illuminates, and captivates,” as the company puts it.

The Holyoke production, which begins at 7 p.m., includes soprano Kristina Bachrach and a small classical music ensemble. According to past reviews, it offers a portrait of a more combative Dickinson, one at odds with the shy, reclusive image of her that held sway for so many years.

As the New York Times wrote a few years ago about the play when it was staged in the city, a production that also featured Page and Bachrach, “Ms. Page here conjures an anguished Emily in captivity, whose brittle acerbity and magnificent moroseness are rather in the mode of Dorothy Parker, minus the cigarettes and martinis.”

General admission tickets for “Because I Could Not Stop” are $24 and can be purchased at mifafestival.org.

 

Last artistic rounds

AMHERST — The Burnett Gallery at the Jones Library will be closing for a spell at the end of January as work on the library’s expansion gets set to begin.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Marie Lane: The emperor has no clothes
Jack Tullos: UMass gets a Big MAC
Residents seek to balance intersection upgrades with preservation of Sunderland character
Next 5-story building cleared to rise in downtown Amherst
Frontier’s response to alleged sexual misconduct draws ire
The Lehrer Report: Feb. 2, 2024

But before that happens, there will be time for one more exhibit.

“Portals and Passageways: Paintings and Process,” by Amherst artist Amy Crawley, runs through Jan. 30 and features textured paintings as well as Crawley’s drawings and studies that led to the finished pieces. An interactive component for visitors is also planned.

In an artist’s statement, Crawley noted that her last exhibit, in early 2020, focused on similar work and that this new show represents something of a continuation.

The exhibit’s theme is connected to how a family member was diagnosed with cognitive memory loss, Crawley explains, which prompted her to think about how people hold onto their memories or lose them — and whether she might face that loss herself one day.

A visit to New Mexico to see ancient Pueblo dwellings and their remnants, including doorways, also helped spark her paintings, which combine oil and cold wax medium “to create layer upon layer, developing a history through her painting process.”

An opening reception for the exhibit takes place Jan. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Celtic folk veteran comes to town

SOUTH HADLEY — Joe Jencks, an award-winning songwriter and a 25-year veteran of the international folk circuit, will play at All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Jan. 14 at 4 p.m.

The Chicago-based Jencks, who has merged conservatory training with his Irish roots and a working-class upbringing, is also an in-demand vocalist and harmony arranger who’s worked with numerous artists on their records.

His most recent album, “The Coming of the Years,” released in August 2022, is based on songs he wrote during his tours of Ireland over a 12-year period, with the music reflecting modern Celtic traditions as well as Jencks’ own songwriting approach.

“Joe Jencks weaves a tapestry of love, immigration, history, and Irish pride,” writes Paul Hartman, the former publisher and editor of Dirty Linen magazine.

Tickets for Jencks’ Jan. 14 concert are $10-$30 in advance and increase by $5 on the day of the performance. For more information, visit www.hartsne.org or call 413-345-2917.

— Compiled by Steve Pfarrer