Henry and Emily

The Middlebury Community Players present
Henry & Emily: The Muses In Massachusetts
Town Hall Theater, February 18-20, 2011

CABIN FEVER SALE ** All tickets only $5 **

Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson come to life in this provocative play. Intriguing, funny and poignant, based on original writings of two great writers, by local playwright Jim Stapleton. This two-person production stars Jim and his wife Diana Bigelow, as two hermits who struggle to find something to say to each other over tea.

Performances at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury
Friday, Feb. 18 at 8pm
Saturday matinee, Feb. 19 at 2 pm
Saturday, Feb. 19 at 8pm
Sunday matinee, February 20 at 2pm

Tickets $5 at www.townhalltheater.org anytime
or 382-9222
or in person at Town Hall Theater Box Office
Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5pm.

Running time: 1 hour 15 min, with no intermission

Henry & Emily is an imagined encounter between Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson, who lived near each other in mid-nineteenth century Massachusetts but never met in real life. The two-person play includes poems and passages from the two authors’ published and private writings. It is divided into three acts. Act I has eight short scenes alternately set at Walden Pond, Concord, and The Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, their home bases. Here the writers weigh the pros and cons of meeting and joust with letters. Act II, their meeting, is set at The Homestead. They return to the settings of Act I for the four brief scenes of Act III, where they reflect on their encounter. Henry & Emily is a drama about these artists’ conflicting needs for solitude and communion. The general tenor is serious, but the play has comic moments as the two hermits struggle to find something to say to each other over tea. They persevere and discover their own, private kind of union in an ecstatic finale.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) is well known for his experimental retreat to Walden Pond. He is less recognized as a literary innovator and contributor to the natural history of New England. Perhaps his greatest bequest is in the realm of personal philosophy; his view of life was genuinely novel, and he expressed it with extraordinary power. Apart from a few trips to the mountains or shores, he lived his life wholly in Concord. Children loved him, most adults found him difficult. He never married.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) wrote 1,789 poems that have survived. She is considered by many to be America’s greatest woman poet; some would drop the word “woman.” Although certain of her poems are deceptively simple, many are baffling at first reading and require careful attention. The devoted listener is always richly rewarded. She led the life of a well-educated, upper class young woman, but became increasingly secluded in her father’s house in Amherst in her later years. Although she had close relationships with both women and men, she also never married.

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Thank you,

The Middlebury Community Players Board