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KING LEAR, EVANGELINE and More Set for Pontine Theatre's 38th Season

Pontine Theatre announces its 38th Annual Performance Series at their West End Studio Theatre in Portsmouth NH.

This season, Pontine presents a five-event Performance Series plus its annual WEST-FEST New Vaudeville Holiday Shows, which offers family-friendly 2pm matinees from 26-30 December.

Pontine is a resident company at the West End Studio Theatre located at 959 Islington Street in Portsmouth, NH. Contact the company at -- or 603-436-6660. Pontine's 38th Season is supported by grants from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This season, Pontine's Performance Series features two productions by Pontine and three productions by invited guest artists. Two things unite the wide range of work presented in Pontine Theatre's annual performance series: all use expression through movement as a primary dramatic vehicle and all are original works or adaptations created by the artists who perform them.

Performances are offered Fridays @7:30pm, Saturdays @4pm and Sundays @2pm. Tickets are $24 ($3 discount for seniors & students) and may be purchased online at Tickets may also be purchased at the door a half hour prior to each performance, based on availability. Pontine's West End Studio Theatre, located at 959 Islington Street in Portsmouth NH, provides private parking and is handicap accessible. Assisted Listening Devices are available upon request.

October 23-25 • The Independent Eye (Sebastapol, CA)

King Lear

Underwritten by Piscataqua Savings Bank

Two actors. Thirty puppets. Shakespeare's fiery text. Lear is the puppeteer of his own puppet show, the solo human in his motherless kingdom of pwer and commodity. Like Dante's damned souls, caught in a perpetual hell particular to each, Lear obsessively plays out his loss of power, friendship, shelter, sanity, and at last even hope. The Fook is his withered soul, an acid clown who torments Lear, stage-manages his story, and finally disappears into Lear's madness.

Sprung from the Independent Eye's series of landmark actor/puppet stagings- Macbeth, The Tempest, Frankenstein, Descent of Inanna-this King Lear features Conrad Bishop as Lear, Elizabeth Fuller as the Fool, with Fuller's music score in a warm inviting setting that offers some shelter against the storm.

December 11-13 • Pontine Theatre

New England Christmas 2015

To celebrate the Holidays, Pontine Theatre brings seasonal stories and poems to the stage written by some of New England's favorite authors. This year, Pontine is pleased to present two witty wonders to life, The Christmas that Almost Wasn't by Ogden Nash (1902-1971) and Christmas Monks by Mary Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930).

The Christmas that Almost Wasn't tells the tale of King Oldwin's imprisonment by his "nastiest of nephews," Evilard, and his resulting program to make everybody miserable which includes outlawing Christmas. With the help of the eight-year-old, Nicholas Knock and the succor of Good King Wenceslsue and his knights, Oldwin is rescued and the beloved celebration is restored. The poem is made doubly captivating by the vivacious variety of Ogden Nash's verse and is sure to delight the hearts of Christmas lovers young and old.

It is unknown to many people that the Christmas toys grow from seeds in the garden of the Christmas Monks. This story by Mary Wilkins Freeman relates the adventures of the Prince, Peter and Peter's little sister, in this wonderful place.

February 5-7 • Tom Cayler (NYC, NY)

Because of the Women: The Histories of Herodotus (just the high points) as told by Tom Cayler

The kidnap and rape of Io, Europa, and Medea started the conflict between the East and the West. You may throw in Helen if you wish, but Herodotus dissed Homer on this point. According to Herodotus, Helen was never in Troy.

Herodotus wrote nine books recording "why the Hellenes and the barbarians made war on each other.

Though the events Herodotus recorded have faded with time, the fact is The West is still at war with the East.

Herodotus (485-420BC) was the father of Western history. In an age when drama and heroic poetry ruled the literary marketplace, he was one of the first practitioners of narrative nonfiction.

Herodotus sat in agorae throughout the Hellenic world and told his stories for drachmas. In his time, they went over like gangbusters: and they still do!

Tom Cayler is an OBIE-wining actor and a Screenwriting Fellow with the New York Foundation for the Arts. His award winning one-man play, Men Die Sooner was filmed and broadcast by PBS. Tom spent six months on the Guiding Light before he was thrown out of an airplane. His short story, "The Little Black Dots," was included in Michael Kimmel's Men Confront Pornography (Crown). His first book, written with his son, Cai Marshall, Omega to Alpha: Love with the Perfect Robot, is available as an e-book on

April 22 - May 8 • Pontine Theatre

Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie, published in 1847, is a story of loss and devotion set against the deportation of the Acadian people in 1755. The poem elevated Longfellow to be the most famous writer in America and has had a lasting cultural impact. Pontine Theatre's two-person staging of Longfellow's masterpiece features puppetry, storytelling, toy theatre and projected images.

In 1840, Longfellow heard about an Acadian couple separated on their wedding day by the British expulsion of the French-speaking inhabitants of Nova Scotia. The bride-to-be wandered for years, trying to find her fiancé.

The French began to settle Acadie, modern-day Nova Scotia, in 1604. For the next 150 years, they cultivated the land, maintained a friendly relationship with the native Micmac Indians, and remained neutral in the ongoing conflicts between the French and the English. By the mid-18th century, there were 12,000 to 18,000 Acadians. In 1755 when these British subjects refused to take up arms against the French, they were exiled from their lands, in what the Acadians call "Le Grand Dérangement." The Acadians were scattered far and wide. Many eventually ended up in Louisiana where they formed the basis of the Cajun culture.

Evangeline is a work of fiction; Longfellow devised its heroine and her quest, as well as the scenery that she moves through. Factual or not, Longfellow's Evangeline became a huge success. Generations of American children read, memorized, and recited the poem as part of their schooling. Schools, churches, inns, and many other businesses and social groups were named for the poem's heroine.

Longfellow's Evangeline created a tourist industry in the lands of the Acadians. Visitors are still drawn to sites such as the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site in Louisiana, which interprets the lifestyle of the Acadian settlers. In Nova Scotia, the Evangeline Trail stretches along the Bay of Fundy coast from Yarmouth to Grand Pré and beyond

June 23-25 • Little Blue Moon Theatre (San Francisco, CA)

Canterbury Tales - The Miller's Tale: A Rowdy Tale of Sex & Deceit by Chaucer

The Kelmscott Chaucer is considered to be a masterpiece of publishing. The Kelmscott Press was the creation of renowned Arts & Crafts designer William Morris, and the Chaucer publication was lavishly illustrated by Edward Burne-Jones. Now Little Blue Moon Theatre takes the artwork to a whole new dimension.

Puppet artist Michael Nelson has collaborated with the McCune Collection of Rare Books to create a work of toy theatre (miniature theatre) based on the classic writings of Chaucer and using the Kelmscott Chaucer, especially the woodcuts of Edward Burne-Jones, as design inspiration for Little Blue Moon's toy theatre staging.

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