On a warm July evening, on the grassy lawn of the Wilder Observatory, six actors and a musician from the Mettawee River Theatre Company gathered in front of an audience of all ages and used puppets and poetry to bring a medieval Welsh tale to life. Taliesin—which blends mythology and real historical figures—tells of a boy magically reborn as a sorcerer-poet and adopted by a fisherman and his wife, who uses his extraordinary gifts to shake things up in the king’s court. The performance was the result of a joint effort between two theater professionals who first collaborated at Amherst College more than 55 years ago.
At first glance, it looks like a tiny housing development has cropped up in the environs of the Emily Dickinson Museum. The 40 little white houses are like the words of the poet herself: carefully prepared, diligently arranged and deceptively spare. There aren’t any tiny people living here, though—just big ideas.