with contributions from Anne Lucas
October at The Gables is a very special time every year. The Legacy of the Hanging Judge and Spirits of The Gables, our annual theatrical productions, create an air of excitement, education, and fun.
Fifteen years ago, Anne Lucas, a local writer, was asked to create theatrical performances to enhance the visitor experience in October. Ms. Lucas was inspired to write The Legacy of the Hanging Judge after a trip to the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum. “I saw the dangers that prejudice taken to extremes in any community can produce.” This performance, which takes place in the Hawthorne Birthplace, gives the visitor an opportunity to meet Nathaniel Hawthorne as he agonizes over his writing. He hopes to expiate his guilt over his ancestor and witch trials judge, John Hathorne..
As the performance moves through the historic house, it goes back in time introducing us to the — meeting perpetrators and victims of the infamous Salem witch trials. They warn us not to turn a blind eye to injustice “or it could be you in the cell here beside me.”
Ms. Lucas was also given the task to enhance an existing performance when she developed Spirits of The Gables. This tour and performance allows the visitor to meet the characters from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel, The House of the Seven Gables. Lucas loves that, “we meet these “shades of the great Nathaniel Hawthorne’s mind” in the house that inspired their creation. The Ghost of Matthew Maule stalks the audience and warns that the Pyncheons will die horrible deaths — ‘God will give them blood to drink’ for the injustice done to him. We find there is only one solution to this family feud — love.”
Much like the year-round staff at The House of the Seven Gables, Anne Lucas enjoys the October season. “Every year it is so much fun to come back to The Gables with new actors and old regulars. The wonderful staff feels like family. So there is always a letdown when it is over.”
This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop