Beaufort News

A look back at the playbill from 50-year-old 'Prologue to Freedom'

Thanks to Ann Knight Roth of Beaufort for sharing the playbill from "Prologue to Freedom," produced 50 years ago to mark the 400th anniversary of the first European settlement in what became Beaufort County.

The three-act historical drama written by Elizabeth Dooley was professionally produced and directed by Milton Smith and Helen Claire, with lead roles filled by pros.

It told the story of French Huguenot Jean Ribaut's venture into what he named Port Royal Sound to establish a colony called Charlesfort.

The play with seven settings and two 10-minute intermissions was produced at the Depot Theater on Parris Island, not far from the short-lived colony of 1562.

The Beaufort Gazette reported that packed houses paid $2.75 to see the play.

As the community now marks the 450th anniversary or Ribaut's colony with lectures throughout the month, Ann Roth said her neighbor in Spanish Point, Marie Litchfield, brought the playbill over because it listed her mother and Ann's father.

Much of Beaufort was involved in the production, or so it seems.

A story from what was then The (Charleston) News and Courier said: "Local amateurs in the cast also performed credibly. Those who declaimed 16th century French with Southern accents were accepted as being from the South of France."

Maybe you, too, can remember some of the people in the play, listed in the playbill in order of appearance:

Lackey, John Eddleman; gentleman-gatekeeper, Pfc. Barry Minnedly; Mademoiselle Rouet, Lady of Honor to the Queen, Jo Tanner; Charles IX, King of France, Lewis Greenly; courtiers, Pfc. Frederic Gerow, Jimmy Stewart, Allan Ryan, Clark Bufkin, Roger Pinckney Jr.; coach-driver, HM1 Bob Conway; Count Gaspard Coligny, Admiral of France, Edward Blessington; Capt. Rene Laudonniere, Phil Calhoun; Capt. Jean Ribaut, William Starrs; Major-Domo, Samuel Greenly; Charles de Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine, Barry Malac; Queen-regent Catherine de Medici, Helen Claire; Master Michel Nostradamus, Bill Breland.

Sailors, Richard Williams, Paul Barber, Kenny Logan, Bruce Harper; onlookers, Mary Jane Matthews, Mary Owen, Hildred Collier, Sally Long, Toni Flowers, Nica Rankin; Guillaume Rouffi, Stephen Blessington; Capt. Nicholas Barre, Bob Noble; 1st girl, Nancy Pinckney.

A Huguenot-hater, B. Lee Webb; his sons, Jimmy Stewart, Roger Pinckney Jr.; 2nd girl, Pauline Brown; Lechere, Lt. John Hubbard; Sgt. Lacaille, Bruce Whitney; Jean Amyon, Fred Owen; Nicholas Malon, Philip Pinckney; Martin Atinas, MSgt. Adrian Basnett; 3rd girl, Bettie Martens; Mme. Curvin, Betty Blakslee; Curvin, Gaillard Pinckney.

Sales, Sgt. William Brown; Sales' girl, Roberta Wright; mother, Joan Rossi; her sons, Clark Bufkin, Frederic Gerow; Capt. Albert de la Pierra, Norris Pindar; Capt. Fiquinville, Joe Bailey; Swiss, Roger Pinckney Sr., Rob Matthews, Bob Conway, John Eddleman; 4th girl, Reba Elizabeth Budd; 5th girl, Vivian Atkinson.

Guernache, Pfc. Raymond Lariviere; Audusta, the Indian King, Barry Malac; Oleta, his daughter, Mary Jane Shippen; Indian girls, Jane Doxey, Billie Nolan, Sue Byrum, Ruth McElroy, Virginia Burch; Indian boys, Bruce Doxey, Allan Ryan, Jimmy Kirkland, Webb Lanford, HN Carl Garner.

Indian musicians, Gordon Black, Steve Schwartz, Alan Whitney, Gary Fordham; Indian warriors, Cpl. Paul White, LCpl. Jimmy Thompson, Sgt. Fred McWaters, Cpl. Joe Strycharz; warden in the Tower of London, Norris Pindar.

American soldiers, LCpl. John Connolly, Cpl. Albert Dorsch, LCpl. Jean Langlois, DA David Matlosz, DN John Wallis, Pvt. Melman A. Baste, Pvt. Walter E. Ward Jr., Pvt. Larry W. Sturgeon, Pvt. T.A. Swiatek, Pvt. William Burke, LCpl. Ronald E. Smith, DN John Settles, Pfc. Fred Gerow, Pfc. Barry Minnerly, A2C David R. Derrick, Pfc. Raymond Lariviere and DN Jack Ulrich.

Scenery by Herbert Senn and Helen Pond; costumes by Sonia Lowenstein; lighting by Al Gordon; makeup supervised by Kenneth Buckridge.

Production stage manager, Commander R.B. Welden; stage manager, Lawrence Wunderlich; assistant stage managers, Bob Conway, Frances Ann Cory; business manager, Gen. E.A. Pollock; house manager, Fred Knight; box office manager, Elrid Moody.

Scenic assistants, Bryan Whitney, John Eddleman, Roger Beymer; assistant to Miss Lowenstein, Hildred Collier; costume assistants, Harriet Keyserling, Mary Owen, Meryl Tattelbaum, Ann Long, Geneva Litchfield, Pat Basnett, Carol Sommerville, Mrs. Brant, Marjorie Ryan, Lib Matthews.

Property manager, Ruth Banks; property assistants, Mazie Terhune, Walter Jenkins, Mary Olive Whitney, Betty Blakslee; choreography for Indian mating dance, Jane Doxey; electrician, HN J.D. Willyard; sound, John Murphy, Cpl. Ron Cormier.

Ushers, Sally Long, Nica Rankin, Toni Flowers, Linda Tucker, Tee Fraser, Julie Zachowski, Kathy Kennedy, Nancy Wilson, Eileen McCoy, Gretchen Maas, Fran Elliot, Diana Greco, Donna Austin, Pat Everett.

Use of theater courtesy of Maj. Gen. T.G. Ennis, commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, and the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David M. Shoup.

Fabrics from Belk-Simpson and Edward's 5 & 10.