Pontine Theatre Presents THE GREEN SHAY by George Savary Wasson: A story of old Kittery Point, Maine

Thursday March 25, 2021

PORTSMOUTH NH: April 9 -11, Pontine Theatre brings George Savary Wasson’s early 1905 novel, The Green Shay to the stage. The two-person production features Pontine Co-Directors, Greg Gathers and Marguerite Mathews. Wasson’s books have been described as “the most authentic Maine stories ever written,” and George Wasson, a resident of Kittery, Maine, has been ranked with Sarah Orne Jewett as a master of the New England idiom. Performances, scheduled for Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 3pm and Sunday at 2pm, are offered online only to protect the health and safety of our audience members. Tickets are $27 and may be purchased online by visiting: www.pontine.org. More information — 603-436-6660 / info@pontine.org

The Green Shay tells the story of the tragic drowning of two brothers, Abram and Elmer Spurling, whose Green Shay (a small sailing vessel) is destroyed one stormy day. Suspicion falls on young Asa Kentle, and the residents of the harbor are thrown into conflict as they endeavor to solve the mysterious disaster. Pontine’s original adaptation creates a lively stage production featuring traditional folk melodies and a full cast of toy theatre figures who represent the book’s major characters. Production design is by Pontine Co-Director, Greg Gathers. 

GEORGE SAVARY WASSON (1855-1932) had strong family ties to Penobscot Bay; his grandfather built vessels there which hauled lumber from Bangor to Boston. Wasson spent most of his summers with his grandfather at Brooksville. In 1872, his father took George to Stuttgart, Germany, to study painting for three years. After returning he opened a studio in Boston, where he specialized in marine painting, and was one of the members of the coterie at the St. Botolph Club with artists like French, Sargent and St. Gaudens.

Not long after, when cruising to Castine, Wasson put in at Kittery Point and thought it the most paintable spot he had ever seen. He settled there in 1889, building a house with a studio in the top story. The general store, Frisbee’s Market, became his club. Just as he recorded in his sketchbooks the details of scows, pinkies, hay schooners and wrecks, so he salted down the speech of his neighbors in notebooks, and from this treasury of language evolved his stories. His first book, “Cap’n Simeon’ Store” was published in 1903; it was followed by “ The Green Shay” (1905) and “Home from Sea”(1908).

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