By Dasha Morgan- Four days from Monday through Thursday, June 20, historical characters —Alexander Hamilton, Malcolm X, Andrew Jackson, and Jackie Kennedy—will be on the A-B Tech Ferguson Theater stage to tell their stories.This year’s theme is “It’s Revolutionary.”
These presentations are a chance to watch history come alive on stage. Before each presentation a musical program will begin the evening. This year you will have an opportunity to duel wits with Alexander Hamilton or debate democracy with Andrew Jackson, or witness the end of Camelot with Jackie Kennedy, or speak out for human rights with Malcolm X.
Dressed in period costumes, four very skilled and talented actors and actresses, who are portraying a well known character, will give you a better understanding and insight into how this famous person lived. What were some of the issues of their time?
Chautauqua is dedicated to telling stories and having these histories heard. The Chautauqua Festival invites you to be intellectually curious and to experience the culture, conversation, and critical thought behind these incredible people. Most of this information has been gleaned from letters, diaries, journals memoirs and published writings. After the presentation, the interpreter will step out of character to discuss the subject and answer the audience’s questions from a critical, modern perspective.
Alexander Hamilton, the Federalist Founding Father, will be portrayed by Ian Rose on Monday, June 17th. Rose has portrayed Alexander Hamilton for the past 15 years across the United States. An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton epitomizes the American dream — poor immigrant making good. He went on to help win the Revolutionary War and ratify the Constitution, create the country’s financial system, charm New York’s most eligible ladies, and land his face on our $10 bill. What did Alexander Hamilton ever do besides get shot in a duel by Aaron Burr? Why did Adams and Jefferson hate him so much? The duel of wits that our Founding Fathers fought illustrates that after the American Revolutionary War was won – the real Revolution began.
Malcom X is portrayed by Darrick Johnson. This will be Tuesday, June 18th. In 2007 Darrick was chosen to portray Malcolm X in the stage play, “The Meeting,” a fictionalized drama which questions: what would happen had Malcolm X and Martin L. King attempted to join forces? Darrick developed his own one-man show to tell the Malcolm X story. Malcolm X is still seen as one of the most controversial figures, from one of the most highly charged periods in American history.
His assassination and those of JFK, MLK and RFK rocked the nation. There is nothing more powerful and revolutionary than a martyr’s cause. Alive Malcolm X was a polarizing figure who both energized and divided African Americans, while frightening and alienating whites. Now, fifty-six years after his death, we are still coming to grips with the complexity and power of his revolutionary message.
Andrew Jackson will be portrayed by Larry Bounds on Wednesday, June 19th. Larry Bounds has appeared previously at Buncombe Chautauqua as Harry Houdini, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney and Winston Churchill in previous seasons, is from Greer, SC., and is a highly talented actor.
Andrew Jackson (the only president with an entire Age named for him) stormed into politics the champion of the Common Man (not, of course to include women, slaves or Native Americans). As volatile as the Age of Jackson was, his fight for the rights of the average white male pointed the way for those excluded to seek rights of their own. The women, the slave, the free black and the Native American – rose up to demand Jacksonian Democracy be extended to them.
The Jacksonian Era was nothing short of another American Revolution.
On Thursday, June 20th, Jackie Kennedy will be portrayed by Leslie Goddard. Leslie has previously performed in Greenville Chautauqua as Amelia Earhart, Bette Davis and Mary Pickford. A resident of the Chicago area, she holds both a master’s degree in theater and a doctorate in American studies and women’s history.
Jackie Kennedy mesmerized foreign leaders and the American people with her style and sophistication, creating a White House renowned for its beauty and culture. At the same time, her youth, privileged upbringing and highly public marriages made her instant tabloid fodder. There is something mysterious and private about this very public person. Her contributions to American life are many. Her courage and fortitude allowed her to survive publicly a decade of unprecedented political assassination and an unpopular war—somewhat in the shadow of her husband’s legacy.
This is the twentieth year of this Festival. Asheville Chautauqua works in conjunction with Greenville Chautauqua. There are numerous sponsors, and tax deductible contributions to the Buncombe Chautauqua may be made c/o and payable to Greenville Chautauqua, 11 Rock Side Ct., Greenville, SC. 29615. They are the only circuit working in North and South Carolina. It exists in various forms in some other states, most notably in our part of the world, Kentucky.
Tickets to the four shows are sold ONLY on site and ONLY for that night’s performance. The cost is $7.00 by cash or check only. It would be wise to arrive around 6:15 PM to make certain you get a seat. Ferguson Auditorium holds 400 people and one or two of the shows are usually sold out. For more information go to http://www.greenvillechautauqua.org/buncombe/ or call Ed Sheary at 828 231-9273.