This makes all the melodrama quiet and curious, rather than overwrought: The spectacle of the story is subordinate to its atmosphere, which lends substance to its themes — the writer or storyteller as "mesmerist," and the implications of this for history, as it is told, continuously relived, and, on occasion, absolved.

Megan Grumbling can be reached at mgrumbling@hotmail.com.

THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES | an original adaptation of the book by Nathaniel Hawthorne | Created and performed by M. Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers | Produced by Pontine Theatre, at the West End Studio Theater in Portsmouth, NH | through May 8 | 603.436.6660 or  info@pontine.org

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