With this post we will go back even further, another 200 years to 1755. Well, not really. I was cast in a leading role in an original play commissioned by the state to commemorate the Acadian Bicentennial. Written by LSU’s Dr Clinton Bradford, the play was entitled ALWAYS ACADIA, dealing with the origin of Louisiana’s Acadian (Cajun) culture. The play depicted fictional characters who were part of the Great Acadian expulsion from Canada during the French and Indian War (a span of 8 years from 1755 through 1763).
Many may remember the name, Oran Teague. A member of the LSU Theater faculty “Doc” Teague was an extremely talented director and was one of the most likable and delightful theater people I had ever had the privilege of knowing and working with. Sadly Doc left us several years ago. He had been a mentor to my long ago friend, Liz Cole (Elizabeth Ashley), a Baton Rougeon who bounded off to New York in 1957 and became an award-winning Broadway headliner. She even made the cover of Life Magazine as “Broadway’s Brightest and Newest”, but sadly that issue came out on November 22, 1963, the date of JFK’s assassination. Her big LIFE moment was upstaged by the assassination.
Anyhow, getting back to ALWAYS ACADIA, the state had budgeted $125,000 for construction of an amphitheater at the Evangeline State Park in St. Martinville. While the theater was under construction, we were in rehearsal at LSU … many hours of arduous, grueling and painstaking blocking, dancing, singing with a cast of probably more than 200, reminiscent of Jamie Wax’s and Paul Taranto’s EVANGELINE and PASSAGES productions of nearly 2 decades ago. It was planned that the ALWAYS ACADIA production would run Fridays through Sundays for 4 weeks. Saturdays and Sundays would each include a matinee and a night performance.