Pontine Presents SILVER LAKE SUMMERS: AN E.E. CUMMINGS REVUE, Now thru 1/5

Pontine kicks off its 3-event Cafe-Lyceum Series with Silver Lake Summers: an e. e. cummings revue. The Cafe-Lyceum format features refreshments and conversation along with scenes from one of Pontine Theatre's popular original plays based on New England literature. Silver Lake Summers is based on the life and work of American poet and painter Edward Estlin Cummings, a lifelong summer resident of Silver Lake in Madiosn, New Hampshire. Poems and stories, personal correspondence, and family photos, combine to illustrate how the "New Hampshire experience" shaped the work of this seminal 20th century writer.

Events are scheduled for Thursday and Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 4:oo and Sunday at 2:00. Tickets are $18 ($3 discount for seniors and students) and may be purchased at - www.pontine.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door a half-hour prior to each performance (cash & checks only) based on availability. Pontine's West End Studio Theatre is located at 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth, NH. The theatre is not visible from the street. Look for the big 959 on the signpost at the head of the drive. Pontine's Cafe-Lyceum Series continues February 6-9 with Pretty Halcon Days: On the Beach with Ogden Nash; and concludes 13-16 March with Familiar Fields: The Power of Community in the Work of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Pontine Theatre's original play, Silver Lake Summers: an e. e. cummings revue, is based on the life and work of American poet and painter, e. e. cummings, a life-long summer resident of Silver Lake in New Hampshire. The play was created and is performed by Pontine Theatre artistic directors, Greg Gathers and Marguerite Mathews.

Cummings was born in 1894 in Cambridge MA into a a family prominent in the academic world. After receiving his M.A. from Harvard in 1916, he became an ambulance driver in France during WWI. His imprisonment on suspicion of holding views critical of the French war effort resulted in his first book, The Enormous Room (1922). After the war Cummings lived for a time in Paris, where he studied painting. Later, he lived in New York City during the winter monts and spent summers in New Hampshire. Cummings died in 1962 at North Conway NH.

Silver Lake Summers: an e. e. cummings revue, focuses on Cummings' life in New Hampshire. When he was a boy, his father bought a farm in the Sandwich Range of the White Mountains near Silver Lake from a farmer named Ephraim Joy. Cummings was indebted to his boyhood summers at Joy Farm for his Wordsworthian love of nature.

In his adult life, Cummings continued to live at Joy Farm from May to October every year, and the place became an increasingly satisfying part of his life. He took up bird watching and thumbed Peterson's guidebooks. He painted Mount Chocorua as often as Cezanne did Mont Saint-Victoire. Watching the sun set behind the mountain became an evening ritual. His many poesm that celebrate the natureal world were inspired by his New Hampshire summers:

I thank you God for most this amazing
Day: for the leaping greenly spirits of tress
And a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
Which is natural wich is infinite which is yes. (Xaipe, #65)

The largest collection of Cummings' papers are housed at Harvard University. The collection contains letters, diaries, manuscripts, notebooks, and sketchbooks. These materials, along with his published works, form the basis for Pontine's play. The text is drawn entirely from his writings. Visual motifs are taken from Cummings' paintings and the environment at Silver Lake. The structure and tone of the play reflect the same inventive and experimental atmosphere of early twentieth century literature and art which influenced Cummings himself.

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