'PlayTalks' series returns with session on Austen

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DORSET — Dorset Theatre Festival's PlayTalks are returning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, as Bennington College professor of literature Brooke Allen will present "The Ever-Modern Jane Austen" at the Northshire Bookstore.

The event coincides with the Festival's production of Kate Hamill's adaptation of Jane Austen's novel "Pride & Prejudice," playing at the Dorset Playhouse August 9 - 25.

"These PlayTalks are how we aim to broaden the reach of our productions and engage our community in the works we present. Pride and Prejudice is a story that has been told a hundred ways, and Brooke Allen's insights on how the novel has stood the test of time are sure to do just that," said Dina Janis, the Festival's artistic director.

Allen has been teaching literature at Bennington College since 2011. She has a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University. Her literary criticism has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The New Criterion, The Hudson Review, The Atlantic, and The Nation.

She is the author of two volumes of literary essays; a biography of Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto; a book on travel and archaeology in Syria before the civil war; and a study of the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of the American founding fathers. She is married to architectural photographer Peter Aaron and lives in Hudson, N.Y.

Dorset Theatre Festival's PlayTalks Series, supported by the Vermont Humanities Council, educates community members and upacks important questions and themes presented in the plays in their main stage season. Following "Pride & Prejudice," the Festival will present "Ann" by Holland Taylor, a co-production with WAM Theatre in Lenox, Mass., starring two-time Tony nominee Jayne Atkinson, for a limited engagement that runs August 29 - September 1. The play, about legendary governor of Texas, Ann Richards, will also be accompanied by PlayTalks on the topics of women in politics and women in theater.


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