An Evening with Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, & Emily Dickinson
A one-woman play performed by Patricia Hruby Powell, this is a depiction of three great 19th century writers who dared to break the male monopoly on literary greatness. It is a 55 minute production with an optional informal mini-lecture about 19th century life — women’s lives particularly.
It begins in England with Jane Austen writing her novel Emma at the end of winter 1814.
“Even if I were to read ten biographies of each of these women, I would not understand them as people, human beings, as well as I have after one of Patricia’s performances.”
– Alex Pittman, MA, MLS,
Library Director Wright State University – Lake Campus
“This performance was very comforting to me to find that these great women were not the social butterflies of their time. I myself am struggling with some of my reclusive tendencies in my life but something about these women really resonated with me and made me feel more comfortable and okay with myself. They had such beautiful minds.”
– Elsje den Exter Blokland, age 17
“You are one of the most astonishingly gifted artists I know.”
– Rose Buckner
Emily Brontë, soon after the publication of Wuthering Heights, shares memories of her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, on the day following the funeral of their brother Branwell.
“I was amazed at your transformation from one character to the next. With no makeup change and minimal wardrobe change, your face and demeanor remarkably changed from that of a bright and lively Jane Austen to a sickly and drawn Emily Brontë. It was an impressive piece of acting.”
– Patricia Serafini, Director
Robinson Public Library
It ends with Emily Dickinson, the recluse, reciting her pithy enchanting poetry in Amherst, the heart and soul of old New England.
“I whispered with her when she spoke my favorites,
I’m Nobody Who are you?
Are you Nobody Too?
I never saw a Moor
I never saw the Sea
Yet know I how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be.”
“You made me understand Emily Dickinson’s poems, when you recited them. Her poetry came alive for me and I felt what she was writing about. It was a very powerful feeling and gave me such an appreciation of her work.”
– Debbie Hoffman
Warren Newport Public Library
“There was no need to suspend disbelief, because Emily was in the room. Her charm, passion, reclusiveness, fragility, intelligence, and grace were all present. It was a privilege and a delight to spend an evening with Patricia’s Emily.”
– Judy Brett, Director
Rebecca Johnson Memorial Retreat
Terre Haute, IN
“Your excellent research…along with your sensitive portrayal and superb acting truly made these literary figures come alive for the audience.”
– Patricia L. Serafini, Director
Robinson Public Library
“Not only are you a multi-talented woman, but you are incredibly thorough. In the past two years working with this series, I have never worked with someone who provided as much information and communication as you. It made it easy to publicize and promote this program.”
– Nancy L. Douglas, Director
Ryerson Library Foundation
Grand Rapids, MI
“Your performance really brings home to people how real these authors are. It’s not hard to imagine the realness of them when you make them come to life. They are no longer the dead white women.”
– Sherry McClellan
Director for Gifted Education
Urbana School District
“It’s as though you have brought all of the energy from all of the things you’ve done into this place.”
– Joan Holland, artist
Quad City Arts Council performance
Rock Island, IL
“I loved watching you…so poised and so intense and so present”
– Dr. Suzanne Oliver
HPERD Dept. Head
San Jacinto College