Gayle Stahlhuth in “Yuletide Tales.” Photo credit: Lee O’Connor
East Lynne Theater Company’s artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth plows through dozens of stories to select those to present for the holidays. These are memorized, with at least 30 different characters interpreted. For “Yuletide Tales,” she’s selected works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edward Everett Hale, Mark Twain and O. Henry.
In Hale’s “9 Linwood Street,” an Irish girl arrives in Boston, but her brother isn’t on the dock to meet her. With the help of many, she eventually arrives at this unique address.
In “Susie’s Letter from Santa Clause,” Twain as Santa explains that she will get the trunk filled with doll clothes, but must talk to Santa first through the household speaking tube. The plans for the trunk delivery are whimsically elaborate.
Hawthorne’s “Snow Image” is about two children who create a child out of snow, or was it just their imagination? But the real question becomes, did their father have the right to question their imagination?
O. Henry provided his usual “twist” at the end of “The Gift of the Magi,” proving that the love between two people is stronger than the gifts they gave each other.
Venues where Stahlhuth has performed her one-person shows include the Smithsonian and Manhattan Theater Club. When she performed Baum’s “Life and Adventures of Santa Claus,” it was designated an “American Masterpiece,” part of the NEA’s Masterpieces Series.
“Yuletide Tales” are presented from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 at the First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May. Call (609) 884-5898 or visit eastlynnetheater.org for details.