Now that’s the way to start the season!
The 79th year of The Lost Colony kicked off last night and all the elements for success was there and they didn’t miss.
The weather at Waterside Theatre where the play is performed was perfect, the acting was outstanding, the staging compelling and fun to watch and the dancing and singing were as good as it has ever been and maybe even a little bit better. There was a little bit of problem with the mikes, but that’s fixable.
Two notable actors who went on to other careers were honored at a pre-performance ceremony. Chief Wanchese, 1952—Carl Kasell, for many years the voice of NPR news received the Emma Neal Morrison Award for exceptional service to the arts in North Carolina and former Senator Pro Tem, State Senator Marc Basnight, who played a number of parts as a child, was given the Skipper Bell award as a distinguished alumni of the production.
Basnight is battling ALS and could not attend, but his daughters were on hand to accept the award.
The evening though was all about the show and what a show it is. Filled with pageantry and great story telling, the tale of the doomed first attempt by the English to colonize the New World unfolds. Underfunded and with dubious support from Queen Elizabeth I at best, the fate of the 115 colonists was sealed almost before they set sail in 1587.
Their predicament was further complicated by the heavy-handed blundering of Ralph Lane who lead a military force that was supposed to hold Roanoke Island until the colonists arrived. His killing of the local chief, Wigina, insured a hostile welcome from local tribes.
Although circumstances were stacked against them, the play that Paul Green wrote in 1937 focuses on the pursuit of dreams and the perseverance it takes to achieve things we sometimes believe are beyond our reach.
Worth checking out—especially for visitors who have never seen the play before, performances will run through August 20.
Remember it’s outdoor theatre at night; bring a light sweater or jacket in case the temperature drops. It’s helpful to have mosquito repellant also.
Joe Lamb, Jr. is a proud sponsor of The Lost Colony.