The Colonists land. An angry Chief Wanchese (not in the picture) confronts the colonists.
The 79th season of The Lost Colony opened last night. An amazing production, for anyone visiting the Outer Banks the show should be on the to do list.
Over the years, the talent that has passed walked upon the stage of Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island is absolutely astonishing—Andy Griffith, Christopher Guest, Lynn Redgrave and William Ivey Long who is still associated with the play as the production designer.
Add to that list Carl Kasell, often referred to as the voice of National Public Radio.
In 1952 an 18-year-old Kasell snagged the role of Wanchese while a student at UNC Chapel Hill. At an award ceremony before the opening night production, the now retired newscaster and voice of “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me” was recognized for his contributions to the arts in North Carolina and The Lost Colony.
The play itself is wonderful. Still very true to the Paul Green original script, it takes into consideration, it takes into consideration 21st century expectations of a tighter script and a cohesive story line.
Written at the the depths of the Great Depression when there was real concern about the American dream, Greens script gives full throat to the hopes and aspirations of the American ideal.
Old Tom’s soliloquy as he stands guard near the end is as compelling today as when it was first performed 79 years ago. He talks about his transformation from a nothing in London, a bum, a drunkard who was beaten by the tavern owners who he had stiffed. And now, at the end of the play, he muses on that has come over him, that he is now a man with hopes, dreams and the knowledge that he will fulfill the responsibility of watching over the 60 sleeping lives that rely upon him.
The Lost Colony is the longest running outdoor drama in the United States. Performances will run through August 20. A few things to keep in mind for theatre goers. It is an evening outdoor performance; 75 degrees at 7:00 p.m. may be 65 degrees at 10 o’clock. Insect repellant is a good idea.