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Greed. Lies. Revenge. And love. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s iconic American novel, “The House of the Seven Gables,” has it all. It took 167 years but the wait is worth it. Playwright JF Dacey has adapted the book for stage and North Shore audiences are in for a treat. Three dramatically staged readings are scheduled in mid-January and those interested are advised to reserve their seats now.
The House of the Seven Gables celebrates its 350th anniversary this year. Stewards and friends of the National Historic Landmark District, where The Gables presides over five other historic structures including Hawthorne’s birthplace, have planned a year of events and celebrations to mark what is a significant historic event not only in New England’s history, but in literary history. It’s fitting that a staged reading of Hawthorne’s bestseller launches this year of events since his visits to the mansion inspired his dramatic tale.
“ ‘The House of the Seven Gables’ is a real New England story,” says Dacey, the playwright. “As I examined the novel, I thought, gee, there’s a pretty interesting story here. I wanted to focus on the love story in the context of the 150-year-old curse along with all the family dynamics. It was fertile ground and, as far as I know, it’s never been done with this novel before.”
According to John Fogle, a well-known and respected director and producer of theatrical productions, the staged reading will feature eight or nine actors in appropriate costumes for the era. “Although it’s a staged reading, actors will move around and speak from a platform during their scenes,” says Fogle. He cast the performance and he will direct it.
“I hope people will appreciate that this was done in one medium — a novel — and now it’s a different medium,” says Dacey. “You get to see the story live on stage with living, breathing people. They will enact the story and that’s what I want people to enjoy.”
The Gables plans three showings at the Seamans Visitor Center, The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem:
Friday, January 19, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 20, 7 p.m.
Sunday, January 21, 2 p.m.
About The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association
The mission of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to preserve The Gables’ National Historic Landmark and leverage its power as an icon of American culture to engage diverse audiences and provide education opportunities for the local immigrant community. For more information visit www.7gables.org.
In 2018, The House of the Seven Gables celebrates a singular milestone. Built 350 years ago, it is still a place where stories are made. Ever the provider of shelter and support, The House of the Seven Gables inspires us as it once inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne. Where sea captains once found their footing, immigrants become citizens, visitors explore period rooms, historians pore over archives, children frolic in the gardens, and authors find inspiration. Celebrate this milestone with us and make your own stories at The House of the Seven Gables.