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christmas snow pontine theatre

‘Christmas Snow’ at Pontine Theatre

The Plains School
1 Plains Ave.
Portsmouth, NH
United States

Pontine Theatre pays tribute to New Hampshire’s beloved poet, Donald Hall, with an original two-actor staging of his story, Christmas Snow, which first appeared in The New Yorker in December 1964.  Hall writes of his 1938 holiday trip to Eagle Pond Farm, his grandparents’ home in Wilmot, NH, when he was ten years old. This story blends reminiscences, anecdotes and vignettes that capture the spirit of a New England Christmas amid the quiet delights of rural life. Pontine was granted special permission by the Donald Hall Estate to stage this story for New England audiences. Co-Artistic Directors, Greg Gathers and Marguerite Mathews will be joined onstage by Fiddler, Ellen Carlson. Performances are offered November 25 – December 4 at Pontine’s 1845 Plains Schoolhouse theatre located at #1 Plains Avenue, Portsmouth NH.   Shows are Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 3pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets are available to purchase online — www.pontine.org.  This production is underwritten by Piscataqua Savings Bank.  Following its run in Portsmouth, Pontine’s Christmas Snow production will tour to eighteen communities in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.   Pontine’s season is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

Growing up in Connecticut, Donald Hall came to spend his summers at the farm at Eagle Pond that had been in his family since the Civil War, where his grandparents were still living a farm life. There, he wrote some of his first poetry. Then, in 1975, three years after he and Jane Kenyon married in Ann Arbor (where Don was teaching at the University of Michigan and Jane had been a student), they decided to try a year at the farm together. Almost immediately, they knew they wouldn’t be leaving.

The farm had long held the story of Don’s family. Discarding nothing from previous generations, Don and Jane filled the Eagle Pond farmhouse still further with books and art, and writing became the habit of their days. In time, both were named New Hampshire poet laureates, and Don also served as a U.S. poet laureate.

In 1995, Jane died at Eagle Pond Farm when leukemia took her at forty-seven. Don continued to live and write there, until he also died at the farm in 2018, months short of ninety.