From the very beginning of auditions everyone knew that Bill Jones, who plays Oliver Farthingham, watchman of the town of Ocracoke, would be off the island for this one performance. David Tweedie was recruited to fill in. In addition, several village girls were unavailable, so Jennifer Kidwell stepped up to grace the stage. Unfortunately, Bill Cole, who plays the ship's cook, had injured his back, and Maren Donlon, Katherine's little sister, arrived with a sore throat and an earache.
Then, at 4:30 in the afternoon Matt Tolson, who plays Blackbeard, realized that his worsening head cold and rising fever would make it impossible for him to perform!
Emmet Temple was enjoying an afternoon at the beach when Molly finally got him on his cell phone at 5 o'clock. All season Emmet had been playing Blackbeard's quartermaster, William Howard, and he immediately agreed to tackle this new role. He had three hours before the curtain would rise!
With barely a 1/4" beard (and a bit of makeup), Emmet took command of his pirate crew, and the stage, to give a stellar performance. The cast began referring to him backstage as "Lackbeard." As luck would have it, Wade Holloman, who had played William Howard early in the season, was back on the island for a two-day visit. He stepped in to help save the day.
|"Lackbeard" battles Richard Evans|
If all of that drama were not enough, problems with the set caused a half hour delay and minor injuries to two members of the cast. After much discussion and attempts to fix the backdrop for Miss Euphemia's Boarding House, the decision was made to proceed without the full set.
Just moments into the show, as pirates were assembled on the deck of the ship, the performance was halted when an audience member collapsed in front of the stage. After a few minutes, Ocracoke's EMTs arrived with a stretcher and carried him to the clinic (I heard later that he had recovered).
Finally, the show resumed. Emmet, David, Wade, Jennifer, and the rest of the cast demonstrated what only seasoned and resilient actors could accomplish. The performance continued without a flaw, and the enthusiastic audience awarded the cast with a rousing ovation.
|Mr. Farthingham reacts to the Goings-On at Miss Euphemia's|
You can read more about this eventful night at http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/92045. (All photos by Eakin Howard.)
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.