Be part of an immersive ‘Scarlet Letter’ theater experience at The House of the Seven Gables Aug. 5, 6, 7 and 19
By Rae Francoeur
SALEM — You’ll need your walking shoes and a sense of adventure to join the cast of History Alive Inc. for one of their immersive “Scarlet Letter” performances at The House of the Seven Gables on August 5, 6, 7 and 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. These interactive performances make use of various parts of the 2.5-acre National Historic Landmark site, so those participating will walk with the performers from place to place at the beautiful seaside location. It’s a rare opportunity to bear witness to the genesis of “The Scarlet Letter” with Nathaniel Hawthorne as narrator on the very site where his birthplace now stands. Reservations can be made by going to The Gables’ event pages — 7gables.org/events — and selecting a performance date.
“The campus of The House of the Seven Gables transforms into an immersive village with townspeople going about their day-to-day lives,” says Kristina Stevick, History Alive’s creative director.
“The interactive, environmental performance of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s popular novel, read in most high school English classes, is now more relevant than ever,” says Stevick. Women’s agency has emerged as a key issue in this country and has fallen under intense scrutiny, not unlike what Hester Prynne, the novel’s protagonist, experienced.
This production features a large cast and is open to audience participation. Those in attendance are invited to assume the role of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s friend and confidant. As this interactive environmental performance moves along, Hawthorne shares his thoughts and motivations for writing “The Scarlet Letter” with his confidants. The number of those in attendance will be kept to 30 per performance for a more intimate and open exchange.
Some performances are scheduled as dress rehearsals and weather, too, will play a role. If a performance is rained out, The Gables and History Alive will try to arrange another date.