New production tells story of only Welshman to fight at Custer’s Last Stand
The story of the only Welshman who fought at Custer’s Last Stand is being brought to the stage at Fishguard’s On Land’s Edge Festival.
‘The Ghost Rider from Dinas Cross’ tells the story of William Batine James, who was among 210 soldiers massacred by thousands of Native Americans at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory in 1876.
What is being described as a ‘radical’ play – featuring an innovative all-female cast and atmospheric soundscape – has been adapted from the Victorina Press novel ‘If God Will Spare My Life’ by Cardigan author Mike Lewis.
It will be performed at Theatr Gwaun as the festival’s opening event on Friday, September 22.
Well-known Pembrokeshire writer and actor Ceri Ashe takes the title role backed up by fellow Pembrokeshire actors Teresa Hennessy, Anna Monro and Jane Harries.
‘Ghost Rider’ depicts James riding out of Fort Lincoln under the command of the vainglorious General Custer.
An early morning mist makes it appear that the bluecoats are riding straight up into the sky. Will they be coming back?
Ahead of them, the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes are massing for one last desperate battle to take back their homelands.
On the doomed march to Little Bighorn, James recalls his troubled early life in hallucinatory flashbacks.
Mike Lewis researched the soldier’s story in north Pembrokeshire and at the battlefield in Montana.
His resulting novel, published in 2021, has been adapted for the stage by writer Anne Garside in collaboration with producer Patrick Thomas.
Anne said: “The novel’s final chapters kept me in such suspense that I was reading until way past midnight.
“I just had to follow Will to the bitter end. I felt that this true-life story might be equally gripping for a theatre audience
especially as Will speaks to the immigrant experience, so often tragic, that is relevant to our own times.
“You could say that the dark hero of ‘Ghost Rider’ has come to haunt me!”
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