A NEW ENGLAND CHRISTMAS 

Pontine Theatre
8-10 Dec 2017 : Fri @7pm, Sat @4pm, Sun @2pm
Location: Seacoast Science Center, 570 Ocean Blvd, Rye NH

Pontine Theatre Co-Artistic Directors, Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers, share their original adaptations of  three Christmas stories written by New England artists.  The Untold Advetures of Santa Claus, by Ogden Nash, is a humerous story poem that reveals how Santa helped George Washington’s crossing the Delaware;  dealt with an unruly Australian kangaroo; and created an urban ruckus by impersonating a street-corner Santa. Christmas in Our Town, by Hanover NH’s Alice Van Leer Carrick, is an evocative memoir of  family Christmas in the early years of the 20th century,  including the annual Hanover “Mystery Play,” which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. The Old Peabody Pew, by Kate Douglas Wiggin,  tells the tale of a group of women in Buxton Maine who come together to renovate the town’s old meetinghouse in time for the Christmas holidays. Wiggins’ story is full of humerous and charming characters and ends with a surprise romance. These stories, not to mention home-made Christmas cookies baked and donated by Pontine supporters, are sure to put you in the holiday spirit!  

Underwritten by Piscataqua Savings Bank. www.piscataqua.com

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The Old Peabody Pew, published in 1907, was written by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856 – 1923). She was an educator and author of the classic children's novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  Edgewood Maine is an old New England town, which has lost its menfolk to urbanization and war. The community is populated with the remaining widows and old maids, whose lives center around rehabilitating their town Meeting-House. In the first scene, we meet the Dorcas Society, a group of  women who care for the needs of the Tory Hill Meetinghouse in Edgewood, Maine.  In fact, Kate Douglas Wiggin founded The Dorcas Society of Hollis & Buxton Maine, and was its first President.  There is  dry humor in the descriptions of the women’s battle with the male trustees over the dilapidated condition of the meetinghouse. Just before Christmas the women are laying new carpet, washing the pews and mending the pew cushions.  The romance of the story centers around the old Peabody pew, which has been left vacant for many years.  The Peabodys of the title are all dead now, except the son Justin, who is one of those who moved away looking for more opportunity. Our heroine is Nancy Wentworth, a thirty-five year old schoolteacher; a kindly, cheerful person with a hidden melancholy, for she is in love with Justin. When he left Edgewood, he said upon parting, "You'll see me back, Nancy.” To her these words were a promise.  She has lived on this phrase for more than ten years.  

The Untold Adventures of Santa Claus is a delightful holiday tale told by one of Santa's elves who accidentally fell off the aurora borealis. It's classical Ogden Nash, with his not-quite-legit rhymes, bouncy rhythms, and unpredictable perspective. In this tale in verse, one of Santa's workmen--the one who paints stripes on candy sticks--tells three tales on his boss: how he rode with Washington across the Delaware; why he once used a kangaroo in place of Dancer and hopelessly mixed up the presents for Australia; and what a close call he had when he was accused of impersonating a street-corner Santa. Ogden Nash (1902-1971) is known as “America’s Master of Light Verse.”  He had a special relationship with The New Yorker magazine who published over 300 of Nash’s poems over the course of his career. Each summer his family lived on Little Boar’s Head in North Hampton, NH.  

Christmas in Our Town was written by Hanover, NH’s Alice Van Leer Carrick (1875-1961). It’s a  heart-felt memoir of her family’s Christmas celebrations through the years. Within the the narrative is a recitation of Clement Moore’s 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, enacted with charming toy theatre figures.  Alice Van Leer Carrick (1875-1961) popularized the hobby of antique collecting through her books, articles and lectures. She was married a professor at Dartmouth College, NH, and resided in a quaint old house which was once the home of Daniel Webster while he was a student at Dartmouth.

© Pontine Theatre  2017