The Lost Colony had to take a year off because of COVID restrictions, but now that the play is back for its 84th season, live theater is again a part of Outer Banks life.
The 2021 production is certainly different from what has gone before. More dancing, more pageantry, more music are just some of the changes.
Something that may not be obvious at first is the producers made a real effort to hire Native American actors for the roles of the Indians. In this case, members of the Lumbee tribe, located mostly in the area around Robeson County performed many of the roles.
The producers also jettisoned the original opening dance sequence. The choreography for that was what the 1937 backers of the play thought a Native American dance would be. What the audience saw at the Friday opening night was a dance based on American Indian heritage. Colorful and energetic, it was a far cry from the original.
There were other changes as well. Traditionally the narrator was the Historian. This year the part has been transformed into a Native American Storyteller. It was a nice touch and added to the performance.
The Old and the New
Some of the changes may take some getting use to. In the past the death of Wigina was depicted as a violent confrontation between the English, led by Ralph Lane, and the Indians. Historically that is what happened and Lane’s bloodthirsty ways is viewed a central to the failure of the colony.
In the 2021 version, his death seems to be handled almost symbolically. Although the body is shown and a mention of Lane’s role is included, it loses the impact of musket fire and a sprawling body.
Some things have remained the same. Local actors still get important roles and this year Stuart Parks as John White deserves special attention for how well he performed the part.
The changes may take some getting use to, but it’s still a great way to spend the evening. Wonderful live theater with a little bit of history thrown in.
Summer is here and fall is just around the corner. Plan your Outer Banks visit with Brindley Beach Vacations today.