billboard-queen_400The “Lost Colony” has been a part of Outer Banks life since 1934 and is the longest running outdoor drama in the country–which is as hardly a reason to go see it. The reason to see the 2011 production is how good it is.

One of the reasons the “Lost Colony” has survived–well, thrived–is that it has consistently reinvented itself.

The core of the play has not changed. Old Tom was and always will be a drunken loser who finds redemption in the New World. Sir Walter Raleigh is a vigorous man filled with dreams and vision, yet ultimately a broken figure, living out his life in chains. Queen Elizabeth is regal and Chief Wanchese and Manteo are filled with a personal enmity for one and other that complicates an already violent and difficult relationship with the Native Americans.

This is the fourth performance of the play I have seen, and I must say that it is the best. The script was focused, the singing excellent, energy levels wonderful—and what I found particularly memorable was the choreography by award wining choreographer Peggy Taphorn

Taphorn’s vision would seem to be that dance is an integral part of the dramatic presentation. When the Native Americans come screaming on stage, their movements seem to coalesce into a very focused and complex dance. . . . a street scene in London suddenly erupts into a very real seeming sword fight.

The special effects are dramatic and startling at times and all in all just a great evening of theatre.

However, over the years, the Lost Colony has evolved to be more than just the one play. In the past, the company has produced three or four plays over the course of the summer, but new executive director, Michael Hardy, told me that he felt doing that many extra performances detracted from the core product.

This year there is only one additional performance–”Pirates! A Boy at Sea”, presented on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. at the Roanoke Island Festival Park Theatre,

This is children’s theatre, so I wouldn’t recommend planning an afternoon date around it, but families with children, if you’re looking for something different to do, this is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

From an adult perspective, it’s a bit transparent and predictable–but the acting is amazing. It is a small cast and everyone does remarkable job. But I must say that, for me, Stephanie Sexton as Captain Freely, really stood out.

If you decide to go to an evening performance of the Lost Colony, remember this is outdoor theatre. Insect repellant is a good idea. Take some water, it can get very hot. But most of all, relax and enjoy the show and watch history unfold before your eyes.

For more information about the Lost Colony visit them online or phone the box office at 252.473.3414.

Photo: Copyright © 2007