February 19, 2009

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Time to spare
20th Annual Pontine Theatre Bowl-O-Rama
By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

Even though there won’t be any White Russians or rugs that tie the room together, Marguerite Mathews, co-director of the Pontine Theatre of Portsmouth, says she expects the theater’s 20th Annual Bowlathon to bring out plenty of 10-pin enthusiasts for a good cause. “Our audiences seem to get a kick out of it,” Mathews said. “It’s got a very retro feel to it.”

The Bowlathon will take place on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Bowl-O-Rama, 599 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth, and the profits will go to programs for the Pontine Theatre, which creates original productions based on the history, culture and traditions of New England.

“We’re a small ensemble that’s been around for 31 years now,” Mathews said. “Our stuff is considered to be pretty intellectually based, so a Bowlathon is sort of fun for us to do.”

There are two ways for people to participate, according to Mathews.

“People can just show up, and for $25 at the door, they can get three strings of bowling free, and as many donuts they can stuff themselves with,” Mathews said. They can also visit the theater’s Web site at www.pontine.org and download a pledge sheet, where they can enlist friends to put down money for each pin they knock down during those three strings. After they have the pledges, the come in on the day of the Bowlathon to play and then have the pledge sheet validated and returned to the Pontine by Friday, March 6. The proceeds aid the theater in bringing in guest artists, creating original productions, and funding community outreach projects all over the state.

There are plenty of prizes participants can also win themselves, including a free Pontine T-shirt for those who raise $50 and a free T-shirt and movie passes for those who raise $125. Trophies will also be awarded for the highest-scoring adult bowler, highest- scoring kid bowler, and the top fundraiser.

“We had one man who has won 50 percent of the trophies,” Mathews said. “A real bowler, a real ringer. We also get a lot of families who come in with their children, grandchildren, and even neighbors. It’s a fun morning for everyone.”