Adapted by Dr. Peter Stine, Mark Stevick and Kristina Wacome Stevick
Directed by Kristina Wacome Stevick
Based on the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne
This November, History Alive, Inc. brings new life to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s greatest classic– The Scarlet Letter. In a site-specific adaptation for Salem’s Pioneer Village, the author himself guides the audience about the grounds of this 17th-century village, where an unspeakable scandal shakes the community. The Scarlet Letter performs on November 10 & 16 – 17 at 3:30 pm at Pioneer Village, at 98 West Avenue, Salem MA. General admission is $30, available at scarletletter.bpt.me.
“It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s words from his first widely successful novel still ring true today. In this adaptation for Salem’s own Pioneer Village, the audience meets the introverted, self-doubting author on the path into his imaginary world. With Hawthorne as their guide, they enter the village on the day of punishment for Mistress Hester Prynne, recently convicted of adultery but released on an unusual charge. Even though the legal penalty is death, Hester is allowed to walk free on one condition– that she wear a scarlet letter “A” upon her clothing for the rest of her life to remind all who see it of her crime.
The audience is witness to Hester’s public humiliation and the struggle of the following years as she raises her young daughter alone. However, the storm is far from over. Although she has accepted her sentence, the aftershock of Hester’s scarlet letter echoes throughout the village, as long-kept secrets and hidden relationships threaten to reveal themselves– and perhaps for good reason.
This is not the first time The Scarlet Letter has been brought to life in Salem’s Pioneer Village; Kristina Stevick, Artistic Director and President of History Alive, Inc., remembers playing a pivotal role in its performance in 1999: “As a young actress, Hester was the role that drew an introvert like me into the thrill of making theatre. She’s strong, self-searching, honest and generous and she’s totally aware of her surroundings while remaining above the pettiness of them. She was a role model to me twenty-five years ago. For this production, it’s been fun to invite Hawthorne, as a character himself, into the work. His struggle as a 46-year old, relatively unknown artist trying to balance his family life, his bread-winning, and the work he is called to make rings true to a lot of us, I bet.”
History Alive, Inc. company member Mikayla Bishop attests to the cathartic experience of taking on the role of Hester Prynne: “I so admire Hester’s bravery, especially when it comes to openly owning her faults and being unabashedly herself […] Like Hester, I find strength in vulnerability.”
Her scene partner Daniel Lefferts, who plays the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and the father of Hester’s illegitimate child, speaks to the distinctive experience of performing in Pioneer Village: “Immersive theatre can be more challenging and rewarding for an audience. And the freedom the audience will have with how they observe the show makes this production unique.”
Experience Hawthorne’s unforgettable story as never before, as his characters battle for love, redemption, and forgiveness in a time and place when all three seem to be out of reach.
Kristina Stevick, Director: (508) 423-4823
Mikayla Bishop, plays Hester Prynne: (978) 771-8042
Daniel Lefferts, plays Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale: (774) 276-1790
Carl Schultz, plays Roger Chillingworth: (978) 335-1919
Admission is $30
November 10 & 16 – 17 @ 3:30 pm
98 West Ave
Free Parking is available in Forest River Park.
Find Nathaniel Hawthorne at the head of the pathway to Pioneer Village.
About History Alive, Inc
History Alive, Inc. is committed to the production of new plays and theatrical scenarios based on true stories from the past. Emphasis is given to interactive theatre so that actors and audience together, through a playful and dynamic way of engaging with history, might broaden their understanding of the present and gain a fresh sense of purpose within their own era. The company also seeks to invigorate the local economy by designing activities that connect the community and its visitors to a distinct, local history.
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