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Gossip: A debut, a new film and gingerbread rules

Gossip: A debut, a new film and gingerbread rules

A Seacoast artistic debut

“Room for Memory” is the inaugural Seacoast exhibition of artist Heather Morgan, a recent transplant to the area. It’s also the unveiling of a new band, and the return of a longtime musician.

Morgan has exhibited extensively in New York, throughout the United States and in Germany. “Room” opens Nov. 22 at 3S Artspace.

“(‘Room for Memory’s’) work explores the possibilities of identity, the different personas we take on at different times. The gallery incorporates some design to support the way in which the paintings spark self reflection, nostalgia and an emotional response,” Morgan says. “The end of the year is a perfect time for that. People are wont to looking forward and looking back.”

The opening will feature a performance by Lovesick, the band’s inaugural show.

Morgan performed with Eidolons, a duo, in Brooklyn, N.Y. For Lovesick, she’s teamed up with David Goolkasian (a.k.a. The Texas Governor; Elevator Drops). The band also features Nick Phaneuf (Soggy Po Boys, Tan Vampires, Novel Novela and others), Eric Ott (Eastern Sl), Dean Ludington (Klown) and Terry Palmer on occasion.

It’ll be a short set, which will feature tunes previewing Lovesick’s music, and some reworked Texas Governor songs.

“One of the major themes in my work is about our performed reality, life as theater and the construct of our identity. So I have always tried to weave other dramatic forms into the presentation of the work,” Morgan says. “I want my work to provide an emotional experience, adding other forms is a deepening of that experience.”

More info at www.3sarts.org and www.starboy.org.

Dane cast in new film

Amanda Dane is juggling her eponymous band with an acting career, which currently is doing rather nicely.

Dane has appeared on numerous regional stages, most often Seacoast Repertory Theatre, more recently in Boston, but has concentrated more on film of late. She was the lead in “Incandescent,” an Alfred Thomas Catalfo short (Rhode Island International Film Festival award-winner, and slated for the Orlando Film Festival Oct. 17 to 24).

Next up: “Well, I just landed a movie – that’s a good one,” Dane says laughing. “The director is Dennis Dugan, who directed a lot of Adam Sandler’s movies, ‘Big Daddy,’ ‘Happy Gilmore’ and ‘Grown Ups 2.'”

The film is “Love, Weddings and Other Disasters,” written by Dugan, his first independent feature. It stars Diane Keaton and Jeremy Irons.

Dane was invited to a director’s audition, “a special case … directors don’t usually go to the preliminary auditions.” Dugan complimented her audition, adding “we want you in the movie,” she says. “It was like a gift, getting validation from a pro.”

Dane is cast as the Bride, a different role then auditioned for, in a scene she’s told is essential to a pivotal character. It’s written as a speaking role – but things change in a flash, she says. “It’s definitely in the movie. But to what extent, you’re never sure.”

Filming is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 30 in Boston.

“This is a great opportunity. I can use it to get an agent in the Boston area, and put myself in position to get more auditions,” she says. “… So I’m over the moon.”

Meanwhile, when not waitressing, she and the Amanda Dane Band perform throughout New Hampshire and Maine. Info at amandadane.com

Get that gingerbread ready

More winter holiday events are getting things in place. The latest the beloved Gingerbread House contest at Discover Portsmouth Center, which just posted its call for entries, along with a few changes.

“So there’s a couple of different ones,” Welcome Center Coordinator Robin Albert says. “For some people, they’re small. For some people, big.”

Most changes have to do with categories. The all Youth Division is now split into two. “I think families wanted that,” Albert says. “So now it’s 13 and younger, and a teens group for 14 to 18.”

The family division is renamed “Multi-generational, because there are many adults working with family members, students, clubs, friends. … We think it’s more inclusive.”

But the big change is the addition of a “Professional Division.”

“We can accept up to seven pro entries – because that’s what we have room for, because they’re going to be under glass cases,” Albert says. “With the professional division, we see food industry, catering and pastry and baking professionals.”

The professional entries are allowed an 18-inch by 18-inch base; the other categories remain at 15-inch by 15-inch base. Deadlines also differ. Pros need to register by Nov. 1; all others by Nov. 25.

“And we’re going to open earlier with the professional division – a sneak peek. It will open Nov. 29, and the full show with everyone on Dec. 6.”

Winners of the Judges Awards will be announced Dec. 6 (which is also the “Vintage Christmas” kick-off).

“It’s important to say, all levels are accepted. There are definitely rules, so look at the rules (and registration at, https://portsmouthhistory.org/29th-annual-gingerbread-house-contest-exhibition-call-for-entries/ ); even for little kids there’s rules. Really it’s that it has to be edible, put together with icing, no hot glue allowed,” she says adding, ” We’re quite excited.”

Frey returns to discuss his ‘Carol’

In more winter holiday prep news: Tom Frey is returning to area theaters if only for a drop-in to discuss the return of his adaptation of “The Christmas Carol,” which appeared on area stages a few decades back.

Frey’s version of the classic started life at the defunct Dover Repertory, running 1988 to 1997. It went on to be produced off-Broadway, and in numerous theaters, Garrison Players’ Art Center’s Director Of Membership Debra Martuscello Wiley says. And now, it’s back.

Frey is scheduled to discuss his adaptation on Nov. 6 at GPAC, where it will be staged for the first time since 1997 on a local stage. The playwright will talk with the cast; GP members are also invited to attend.

“Tom used to act at the Dover Repertory and I believe at Hackmatack Playhouse, too,” Wiley says. “He then went back to school and now is a Minister at People’s United Methodist Church in South Portland.”

Wiley directed the show, working with Frey for five years before he left for seminary.

She asked to produce the piece at Garrison some years ago, but for one reason and another it wasn’t staged, she says. With all the changes at Garrison of late, the influx of volunteers and new board members who assembled to revitalize and ensure its future, she gave it another shot, and got the go-ahead.

“I called Tom and asked for permission to produce the show with me directing, to help the theater out. … He knows our financial situation, although much improved, (it) could use the boost,” she says. “He came back to me with the offer to donate the rights for a listing in the program as a membership and tickets.”

The play will be staged in two locations, first at the Silver Fountain Inn, Dover, then GPAC, starting Dec. 12. Wiley will direct both shows, which will require entirely different blocking, she says.

“It is a beautiful version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that I have seriously held in my heart and missed performing in,” she says. “I have never seen a version that compared in the flow, simplicity and the beauty with this one.”

Jeanné McCartin keeps her eyes and ears open for gossip at maskmakernh@gmail.com.