Strong performances mark the opening of the 87th season of The Lost Colony

By on June 2, 2024

Queen Elizabeth I (Libby Otos) and Eleanor Dare (McKenzie Cale Troyer) discussing women going to the New World. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
The end of the Fire Dance with dancer Ashley Everette held high. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
Story Teller Kat Littletrutle. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
Once friends but now bitter enemies, Wanchese (Ethan Oxendine) with feathers, confronts Manteo (Noah Sage Anselmo) in a bitter and violent fight. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
In one of the most powerful scenes of the play,
Old Tom (Jeffrey Duncan) standing guard as he makes his famous “Roanoke, oh Roanoke, thou hast made a man out of me.” (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
John Borden (Luke Sage) and Eleanor Dare (McKenzie Cale Troyer) with Eleanor holding Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World, as the colonists walk off to a new life. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
previous arrow
next arrow
 
Queen Elizabeth I (Libby Otos) and Eleanor Dare (McKenzie Cale Troyer) discussing women going to the New World. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
The end of the Fire Dance with dancer Ashley Everette held high. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
Story Teller Kat Littletrutle. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
Once friends but now bitter enemies, Wanchese (Ethan Oxendine) with feathers, confronts Manteo (Noah Sage Anselmo) in a bitter and violent fight. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
In one of the most powerful scenes of the play,
Old Tom (Jeffrey Duncan) standing guard as he makes his famous “Roanoke, oh Roanoke, thou hast made a man out of me.” (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
John Borden (Luke Sage) and Eleanor Dare (McKenzie Cale Troyer) with Eleanor holding Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World, as the colonists walk off to a new life. (Photos by Kip Tabb/OBV)
previous arrow
next arrow
By Kip Tabb | Outer Banks Voice

Telling the story of the first attempt by the English to colonize the New World, The Lost Colony has opened for its 87th season on Roanoke Island. With strong performances from the principal actors and some compelling special effects, the play, which is the longest continually running outdoor drama in North America, offers a pleasant and engaging two and a half hours of entertainment.

The Lost Colony tells the story of the approximately 117 colonists who boarded ships in England bound for Roanoke Island hoping to create the Virginia Colony, England’s first settlement in the New World. Three years later, in August 1590 when John White, the colony’s governor and leader returned, he found an abandoned village, stripped of everything—including the homes—and the letters “CRO” carved into a tree.

The fate of the colonists has never been discovered nor fully explained, and so the story of The Lost Colony began.

Written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paul Green and first performed in 1937, the play has been largely reimagined, although elements of Green’s original vision are still there.

What Green understood was that at the core of any good story is the journey of the human heart. And nowhere is that as well told as the in triangle of love involving Ananias Dare ((JT Atwood), Eleanor Dare (McKenzie Cale Troyer) and John Borden (Luke Sage)—a story that explores friendship, honor and the complexities of the human heart.

In the first act of the play, it’s clear that Borden and Eleanor Dare are in love, but Eleanor is betrothed to Ananias Dare, and she will not walk away from that commitment. Dare oblivious to this, befriends Borden telling him that he will have his back no matter what. That statement is put to the test when the Roanoke Colony ship’s pilot Simon Fernandez, (Matthew Velez), whips out his sword to confront Borden. Dare immediately jumps to his friend’s aid.

Later in the play, pierced by an arrow, Ananias Dare dies in Borden’s arms, pleading with Borden to protect Eleanor and his newborn daughter, Virginia.

Another aspect of the play that was part of the original concept was the dilemma the Native American people faced when confronted with European colonial intentions in general, and England’s specifically.

Green in his original work focused on Wanchese and Manteo, who returned with the first expedition to England. Wanchese, from the outset, refused to engage with the English; Manteo was cooperative and friendly.

When Wanchese (Ethan Oxidize) and Manteo (Noah Sage Anselmo) return to Roanoke, they disagree about the English. Wanchese believes they cannot be trusted and would take all of land of the Native People. Manteo argues that the best way to move forward was to recognize how powerful the English were and work with them.

Jeffrey Duncan’s performance as Old Tom also stands out. Old Tom’s character traces the story arc of the play, from rising from the depths of alcoholism and begging for scraps of food or drink in London to standing guard on a parapet of the Roanoke Colony fort with the fate of the 60 surviving colonists in his hands.

It is at this point that the most memorable line of the play is spoken. “Roanoke, oh Roanoke. Thou hast made a man of me,” Old Tom declares to the world.

Typically that line is spoken softly at the end of the soliloquy, although it does stand out. But whether it was Duncan or Director Jeff Whiting who made the decision, Tom in this production, recounts his rise from the streets of London to his place of importance. He then turns to the waters of Roanoke Sound and shouts for all the world to hear: “Roanoke, oh Roanoke. Thou hast made a man of me.”

The strength of the performances, however, cannot mask some structural problems with the play.

There were three voyages to Roanoke Island. A first exploratory expedition in 1584, a second scientific, military and supposedly diplomatic trip in 1585, and the 1587 Lost Colony crossing of the Atlantic.

Although all three voyages are depicted, events leading to the second crossing are muddled and unclear. There is a confrontation between Queen Elizabeth I (Libby Otos) and Sir Walter Raleigh (Joey Cassella) where Elizabeth is adamant that Raleigh will not be permitted to go. Ralph Lane (Jasper Lane Pippin) is chosen to go in his stead, but there is no discussion of who Ralph Lane is, why he was chosen, or for that matter, when the expedition leaves. Suddenly it’s there on Roanoke Island.

Back from England, Wanchese warns Chief Wingina (Cameron Bryant) about Lane, telling him he is a violent man who cannot be trusted. Given Lane’s documented history of violence, that may have been an understatement.

What follows is perhaps the most incomprehensible part of the play.  Green’s original script had Wingina dying by gunshot from soldiers under Lane’s command. The report of the gunfire was loud and shocking and left no doubt as to what happened. In this interpretation, it’s all symbolically told with large puppet owls, the symbol of death, flying across the stage, while discordant sounds play as Kat Littleturtle, the Storyteller, narrates that Wingina has died.

The scene falls woefully short of telling the horror of Wingina’s death which admittedly could not really be realistically shown; he was wounded, chased and beheaded. But because the shock of his death is so diminished, the audience is not given the information it needs to understand the visceral resentment the tribal nations felt toward the English.

Conversely, what may be one of the most heart-wrenching scenes of The Lost Colony occurs in 1588 as the Spanish Armada threatens England. John White (Stuart Parks) and Raleigh go to Queen Elizabeth I to plead for permission to send two small supply ships to the colony. White had originally returned to England to gather supplies.

With the threat of a Spanish invasion imminent, the Queen has ordered that no ship may leave an English port. The scene begins with Raleigh and White citing why the resupply is so important, but finally, White breaks down pleading with the Queen, telling her that it is his daughter (Eleanor) and granddaughter (Virginia) that are being abandoned.

The power of a scene like that is what theater is meant to be.


BIDDER PRE-QUALIFICATION REQUEST:

Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


 



Comments

  • Manteo Guy

    “That statement is put to the test when the Roanoke Colony ship’s pilot Simon Fernandez, (Matthew Velez), whips out his sword to confront Borden. Dare immediately jumps to his friend’s aid.”
    Simon Fernando not Fernandez

    Sunday, Jun 2 @ 11:08 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Sorry, we’ll fix.

    Sunday, Jun 2 @ 12:22 pm
Join the discussion