Thursday, 6 August 2009

Robert Rogers the Playwright and the 'first Western'

One of the fascinating things about frontier war was how quickly it became popular and how quickly it became interpreted for an audience - whether it was Benjamin West's 'Death of Wolfe' and the cult surrounding that hero's death but also the character of Robert Rogers as a great Indian fighter. This was mainly due to his writings - the most interesting to me was his play which he wrote during his stay in London in 1766 around the events of 1763 Ponteach [Pontiac]: or the Savages of America which is up for your delight at the great Project Gutenberg. I'd love to see it staged, though I guess the dialogue might not sit well with contemporary sensibilities but its worth as a historical artefact is undisputed. In fact it could even be described as the first 'Western' as it deals with the events at the far western tip of European settlement - and that's something to think about.
Reading the preface it was never staged in London though it may have been done at Lake George - an appropriate setting indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment