Monday, August 31, 2009

Celebrating Nash's Legacy in North Hampton

Ogden Nash was recently featured in two special events in New Hampshire.

The tribute began with an early evening tour of Nash's former seaside estate, courtesy of owners Bob & Sherry Lauter. The house is beautifully situated on a rise overlooking the Atlantic and the rock dotted beach. According to his grandaughter Frances, Nash swam there daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, irrespective of the cold temperatures.

As we walked through the house Bob related the Nash lore he's received from friends and Nash's family since they purchased the home a few years ago. Much of the character and features of the 1870's of mansard roofed house has been preserved. Although it's far from a stuffy Victorian. The front rooms have fantastic views. The second floor has 11 foot ceilings and wide plank floors. While the red Formica counter tops are gone, the original kitchen cabinets are still there and one can easily envision Nash looking for more barbecue sauce or a midnight snack.

The next event was " Home is Heaven: 32 Poems by Ogden original staging of Nash poems which celebrate his family and their summers by the seashore", staged by M. Marguerite Mathews and Gregory Gathers of the Pontine Theatre Company.

The production animating Nash's poems about family life at the seashore made for superb synergy after the tour of his home. The day's events were the work of Susan Grant, Director of North Hampton's library. Susan and her staff and volunteers did an amazing job bringing everything together.

The Pontine players were brilliant in 'duet' form - reciting 'Apartment to Sublet'. 'Custard' and 'Tin Wedding Whistle' in the most endearing ways that brought out nuances of the poem that go unnoticed when reading it in a solo voice.

The play was received warmly by the audience. Many stayed long afterwards to chat with Marguerite and Greg and listen to their stories of producing the play and staging it all over NH. 'Home is Heaven' has been performed previously at Pontine Theatre - here is a detailed review by WireNH.

The evening was also the start of an effort to gather more Ogden Nash anecdotes from his North Hampton friends to include in a touring exhibit of his works. If you have any Nash stories to share, please send them to Susan Grant or post them here and I'll pass them on.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ogden Nash Day in Little Boar's Head, NH

On August 20th the town of North Hampton, NH is celebrating the anniversary of the poet's birth with two special events.

The Pontine Theatre group will stage a production of "Home is Heaven: POEMS BY OGDEN NASH" at 7 p.m. at North Hampton School, 201 Atlantic Ave. Pontine's co-artistic directors Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers will bring Nash's poems on family and summer to life with toy theater figures and puppets.

Prior to the production here will be a tour of Ogden Nash's former seaside home from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., compliments of Bob and Sherry Lauter, the current owners. For more information contact the North Hampton Public Library at 603-964-6326.

Nash was born on August 19, 1902.

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