Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

September 27, 2012

Stepping into Lewiston's past

Niagara Gazette — Sometimes it's impossible to avoid the "fish out of water" feel in life. For me, I get a little antsy being asked to perform in front of crowds, whether they be five or 500.

I relive this fear every time I step forward in the role of James Fenimore Cooper, the popular 1800's author of some classic American tales, in Lewiston's Marble Orchard Ghost Walk, 7 p.m. every Saturday through Oct. 27, at the village's Peace Garden behind the Little Yellow House on Center Street.

Oh, brother, is it terrifying. Not only speaking in front of crowds – more on that in a bit – but the walk itself is gruesome. The actors who give this two-hour portion of their Saturday nights to put on era clothing (including one brave soul who wears a kilt) and receive no pay do a marvelous job of telling their stories and using just the right amount of dramatic tension.

They all know their parts, many of them veterans of the same characters for more than a year or two. They speak with purpose, put emotion behind their words and deliver their performances to crowds that hang on their every words – mostly.

Then there's me. I was approached to take on the role of the author after I told my story of the improv class I took this summer in Lockport. The first week of the Marble Orchard walks, I took the tour as part of the audience and stepped in the next week to make my debut. Initially I had my doubts about what I could bring to the well-oiled machine the Ghost Walks have become. But Eva Nicklas of the Lewiston Council on the Arts convinced me I could play a part in this year's success.

I started off going about my research for the character by reading about him on the Internet. I remembered he wrote numerous books in the years after the War of 1812, including the wildly popular "The Last of the Mohicans" and "The Spy," a story which featured a character based on the life of Lewiston's Catherine Hustler (and the reason they wanted me to play the author at all). Cooper, whose name is the namesake of Cooperstown after his father settled the then-future home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, also worked as a midshipman in the Navy and spent several years living in Europe. It was as a midshipman where he visited Lewiston and met Hustler and her husband.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Night & Day
  • NIA Artpark advance art 072114 3 Doors Down close out Wednesday series at Artpark Wednesday Night's 3 Doors Down concert is the final in the 2014 Coors Light Wednesday series, the younger counterpart to the popular Tuesday night series that continues through August.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD Artpark review art 071714 Megadeth brings the metal to fans at Artpark It was mega-loud and mega-fast at Artpark Tuesday night as soon as thrash metal pioneers Megadeth hit the stage for a 90-minute set. Dave Mustaine and crew performed to an enthusiastic albeit smaller than usual crowd mostly clad in black clothing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sara Bareilles 1 SLIDESHOW: Sara Bareilles takes the Artpark stage

    Pop diva Sara Bareilles was so good that even an hour long rainstorm couldn't drive her fans away. 

    July 17, 2014 6 Photos

  • NAD Jennings column art 071714 JENNINGS: Aretha Franklin, Tom Cochrane coming to town this week This week's column will focus on three shows coming to the Niagara region this week, all artists I am very familiar with so this offering will be a bit more on the personal side than usual. Those three shows are, Tom Cochrane with Kim Mitchell, Aretha Franklin and Theory of a Deadman.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'Philadelphia Story' takes its act up north Before there was "E!" there was "Philadelphia Story," the big romantic comedy (emphasis romantic) in the Shaw's Festival Theater.

    July 17, 2014

  • Megadeth Things get heavy at Artpark as Megadeth takes the stage

    It was mega-loud and mega-fast at Artpark Tuesday night as soon as thrash metal pioneers Megadeth hit the stage for a 90-minute set. Dave Mustaine and crew performed to an enthusiastic albeit smaller than usual crowd mostly clad in black clothing.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD Calleri review art 071714 CALLERI: Two documentaries and a visit to the new apes planet make moviegoing interesting

    "Walking The Camino: Six Ways To Santiago" follows six people participating in the famous 500-mile pilgrimage from St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the Pyrenees in France to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain's Galicia region where, legend has it, the remains of the apostle St. James The Great are entombed.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Aquarium Golfing under the stars supports aquarium penguins

    Glo-Golf is the name of the game for Friday's Aquarium of Niagara fundraiser — golfers spend the first few hours playing in daylight, break for a buffet dinner and play the rest of the game under the stars.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Megadeth preview art 071414 Artpark offering something a little different this Tuesday with Megadeth On Tuesday Artpark welcomes thrash metal pioneers Megadeth to Lewiston for the seventh installment of the popular series. They are part of the "Big Four" in the thrash metal genre, with Anthrax, Slayer and founding member Dave Mustaine's former band, Metallica.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD third person.jpg REVIEW: Meandering melodrama "Third Person," is structured like "Crash." Lightning doesn't strike twice for writer-director Paul Haggis with "Third Person," a meandering melodrama that is structured exactly like his "Crash," which undeservedly won the 2006 Academy Award for best picture over the much better "Brokeback Mountain." Haggis again tries to juggle multiple storylines, but this time the plot threads unravel and nothing we see or hear is very engaging.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page