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Pontine Theatre Presents A NEW ENGLAND CHRISTMAS

New England ChristmasMARK YOUR CALENDAR

From December 12-14 Pontine Theatre presents its original production, A New England Christmas, underwritten by Chris Dwyer and Michael  Huxtable. (Click title to read more) 

 

Pontine’s artistic directors, Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers, perform a selection of Christmas stories and poems by New England authors, including Mary Wilkins Freeman, William Dean Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, Ogden Nash and more.  The show combines lively storytelling and charming Victorian-style Toy Theatre Figures along with seasonal music. These charming holiday tales – in addition to holiday punch and cookies – are sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.  Performances are offered Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 4 and Sunday  at 2.  

Tickets are $24 and may be purchased online at www.pontine.org.  Tickets may also be purchased at the door (check and cash only) a half-hour prior to each performance, based on availability.  Pontine's West End Studio Theatre is located at 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth NH.  Call 603-436-6660.  

The first act of A New England Christmas features a selection of witty seasonal stories by some of New England’s finest writers.  Jimmy Scarecrow’s Christmas by Mary Wilkins Freeman, originally published in 1913, tells the story of how a scarecrow helps Santa Claus save the North Pole from arctic explorers.  Originally published in 1892, William Dean Howells’ Christmas Everyday is a charming story about a little girl who rues her wish that it would be Christmas every day of the year.  Her greediness causes a plethora of problems and sends everyone to the poor house as they struggle to keep up their Christmas spirits.  The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus, published in 1942, is a precautionary poem penned by “America’s Master of Light Verse,” Ogden Nash.  It describes the terrible fate awaiting the saucy Jabez Dawes who dares to sneer at Santa Claus.  A Christmas Rescue, by Albert Bigelow Paine, was published in 1903.  Mr. Paine, biographer of Mark Twain, tells the tale of an indignant little boy who decides to run away from home and pursue adventure in Africa, or Russia, or perhaps the North Pole.   Pontine brings these stories to life through inventive staging techniques including Victorian-style Toy Theatre figures and animated storytelling.

The second act of the production features Pontine’s original staging of Sarah Orne Jewett’s story, A Neighbor’s Landmark: A Winter Story with a Christmas Ending which was published in 1894 in Century Magazine.  It tells the story of the Packer family, owners of two enormous pine trees which are situated on the top of a hill in a small coastal village in Maine.  Despite the objections of his wife and daughter, the patriarch of the family is persuaded to sell the trees.  The lumberman who purchases them plans to cut them down and sell their wide planks at a huge profit in Boston.  The town’s fishermen, who count on the great pines to navigate while at sea, and neighbors who possess a deep fondness for the great pines, petition John Packer to to let the trees stand.  Will John Packer reconsider his decision or will it be too late to save the landmark pines?   Jewett’s love of the natural world finds expression in this tender story about conflicting priorities among a community of colorful characters.  Her ability to convincingly write dialogue in a Down East vernacular brings the scenes vibrantly to life, while Pontine’s two-person staging of the tale adds visual interest through evocative projected images and touching characters.

Now celebrating its 37th season, Pontine Theatre is known throughout New England for its original works based on the culture and literature of the region.  Co-Directors, Greg Gathers and Marguerite Mathews, bring history to life onstage through storytelling, puppetry, toy theatre, projected images and more.  New Hampshire Magazine says, “Pontine Theatre is a small miracle.  Mathews and Gathers conspire to fascinate the contemporary mind with original works based upon stories and literature of New England.  There’s really nothing else like it anywhere.”

 

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